Friday, November 30, 2012

The Big Bad Wolf - How YOU Can Help

Hi everyone, this will be the first in a series of blog posts leading up to December 5th, which just happens to be the deadline for submitting comments to the BC government regarding its Draft Management Plan for the Grey Wolf in British Columbia.

As many of you already know, I've put my heart on my sleeve of late and come out strongly against the men and women hiding behind their guns up north in the Peace region. Their barbaric wolf kill contest has now garnered national attention, and my call for a boycott of the Alaska Highway by wolf lovers has people from around the world stepping up in support of the wolves of British Columbia.

Through this last week, some of the people up north have been interesting, to say the least. They've continuously shackled themselves with comments in the newspapers, on the radio, and on the internet that has made many of them look like they're stuck in a time warp, afraid to embrace modern values towards wildlife and tourism.

I've asked them repeatedly for science to back up their claims of "too many wolves" and they've come up with nothing. They've ignored my calls for data showing something/anything (!!) about increased wolf predation on livestock (read the Vancouver Sun article from October 9th, Livestock Stats Don't Justify Wolf Cull, for an eye-opener on that bogus claim). And perhaps worst of all, the men behind the contest have shriveled up under the spotlight and disappeared. Completely. Hoping, I'm sure, that us "tree-huggers" and "radicals" will go back to our cities and southern towns and let them keep masquerading about as conservationists. Unfortunately for them, the time has come to step up and make our voices heard across the province and across Canada.

So just how bad is this Draft Management Plan for the Grey Wolf in British Columbia (60 page pdf)? Rather than listening to me on this one, I'm going to give center stage over to some of Canada's most prominent wolf researchers: BC Wolf Management Plan criticized as veiled attack on the species (Vancouver Sun, November 16th) and to a friend and colleague in the world of professional wildlife photographers, Brad Hill, a biologist living in the heart of wolf country in the Kootenays in British Columbia.  Brad has crafted up two fantastic blog entries in the past week outlining exactly what is wrong with what he calls BC's Draft Murder Plan for the Grey Wolf (read his November 21st entry down the page, as well as his November 29th entry at the top).

It takes just a few minutes, but if you read Brad's comments and the Sun articles, you can then go directly to the British Columbia government's feedback form and submit your comments on what you think about BC's proposal to have aerial wolf culls in the province, among other draconian measures, as part of their murder plan for grey wolves.

It's time we put an end to wolf culls (for now -- I'll have more about this on Monday's blog post), wolf killing contests, and the myth of the Big Bad Wolf.

After all, would YOU shoot this?  Then why are we letting anyone else do it without some science to back up their claims?

The Big Bad Wolf?  Hardly, not a single person has ever been killed in BC by a wolf.


Thank you everyone, I greatly appreciate your help and support in this urgent matter.  Please help spread this across Facebook and Twitter and the web as quickly as possible.

Sincerely,

John

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Polar Bears from Nunavut

Hi everyone, I'm taking a short break from all of this wolf news (there is much more to come) to give you a peek at the first few images I've edited from my November polar bear trip to Nunavut, Canada in the Canadian Arctic.

A polar bear eyes my group from about 60 meters away, Nunavut, Canada

A polar bear marches in towards our camp for a closer look, Nunavut, Canada

Portrait of an inquisitive polar bear, Nunavut, Canada

A polar bear walks by camp along the frozen shores of Hudson Bay, Nunavut, Canada

If you're interested in learning more about wildlife photography, there are still a few spots left this Saturday, December 1st at my Getting Wild about Photography 4-hour seminar in Calgary, Alberta.  I'll be showcasing all kinds of new images from my recent trips as part of discussions on photo techniques, compositions, and my workflow.

Stay tuned for more polar bear pics next week.

Happy shooting!

John

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Link to Radio Interview

CKNW in Vancouver has now posted the link to my interview from earlier today and I've taken the podcast and made it available here if you'd like to listen to it.

Please feel free to let me know what you think.

Wolf tracks along a road in winter in the Canadian Rockies

Happy shooting,

John

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

CKNW radio interview - Wolf Kill Contest

Hi everyone, just a quick note to let you know that I will be on CKNW radio on the Bill Good Show from Vancouver at 11 a.m. PST tomorrow morning (Wednesday, November 28th) talking about the Fort St. John wolf kill contest and the Draft Management Plan for the Grey Wolf in British Columbia.

You can listen live at 11 am PST (2 pm EST). Note that there will also be a call-in portion of the program after the first ten minutes, so anyone on either side of the debate that would like to weigh in on the issues can have a chance to have their say.

Wild wolf in the Khutzeymateen Valley, British Columbia

Cheers,

John

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Vancouver Sun covers Wolf Kill Contest

The Vancouver Sun has just published an article about my blog post this morning calling for a tourism boycott of the Alaska Highway after a controversial wolf kill contest in northeastern BC came to light earlier today.

"Wolf-kill contest in Peace River prompts call for tourism boycott of Alaska Highway" headlines the article by writer Larry Pynn.

Please take the time to check out the original blog post about the wolf kill contest and to post your comments or write a letter.

$250-$1000 for killing a wolf?  Are ethical hunters going to step up and speak out about this and condemn it, or will it just be silence and business as usual?

Thank you everyone. Let's continue to build the momentum on this and get it stopped as soon as possible.

John

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Wolf Kill Contest in B.C.

An open letter to Rich Petersen, retired owner of Re/Max Action Realty in Fort St John, B.C. from John E. Marriott, owner of Canadian Wildlife Photography Tours in Canmore, AB, a prize winner in the 2012 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, and contributing editor to Outdoor Photography Canada magazine.

Sent on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 to the following:

Rich Peterson: rich@richpetersen.com

CC: Members of Parliament for Fort St. John and the Yukon, Members of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, Travel Yukon, Northern BC Tourism, Whitehorse, Dawson Creek and Fort St John newspapers, the Vancouver Sun newspaper, several prominent wolf experts quoted in the article, and the President, Vice-Presidents and Regional Director of the BC Wildlife Federation.

lpynn@vancouversun.com, steve.thomson.mla@leg.bc.ca, pat.pimm.mla@leg.bc.ca, clint@nbctourism.com, vacation@gov.yk.ca, Ryan.Leef@parl.gc.ca, editor@ahnfsj.ca, editor@dcdn.ca, Info@tourismdawsoncreek.com, Joyce@tourismdawsoncreek.com, darimont@uvic.ca, ppaquet@baudoux.ca, wmbosch@telus.net, r4mayor@telus.net, george.wilson@teck.com, ajw75@telus.net

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Hello Rich,

I wanted to write to express my disappointment in you after reading about your contest offering prize money to hunters that kill wolves in northeastern BC this winter (in the Vancouver Sun this morning: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Contest+offers+cash+prizes+wolf+kills+northeastern/7572936/story.html).  This letter is to urge you to reconsider your contest and to focus your efforts elsewhere on actions that will benefit all of the wildlife of British Columbia.

Your Re/Max website [note: site was removed two days after I wrote this] describes you as a strong advocate for wildlife, and I quote, "A strong supporter of wildlife conservation issues, Rich has served on the provincial board of directors of the BC Wildlife Federation for over 10 years including two years as on the Federations provincial executive. His outdoor interests include trail riding, camping, river boater, fishing, hunting, and wildlife photography."  So my question to you is this: how does a 'we'll give big money to who can shoot the biggest wolf' contest fit with your claims that you are a proponent of wildlife conservation?  As seems far too common in my line of work, you and your fellow sponsors appear to be hunters without ethics, claiming to be conservationists acting on behalf of British Columbia wildlife, yet acting the complete opposite. As such, I am calling on you personally to stop this contest immediately. 

I will be launching a nation-wide campaign later today on my blog (blog.wildernessprints.com) and Facebook fan pages for my readers, which number in the thousands, calling out hunters across Canada to step up and do something in protest of this contest, perhaps backing their oft-heard claims that their actions are for the good of all wildlife, not just select species, and are all about conservation.  Because this is not hunting, nor is it ethical.

Killing any animal for the sake of killing is simply not acceptable in today's day and age and you should be ashamed of yourself.  Hunting is a time-honoured tradition that is about putting food on your table and getting out on the land, it is not a contest for killing the biggest this or that or for nurturing a hatred of one species.

Perhaps it's time you truly did do something for conservation and picked up your camera instead of your gun if you can't act responsibly with the resources we all share.

I travel the Alaska Highway almost every year in search of great wildlife photographs, including of wolves.  I had a trip planned for this coming June, yet will now not be coming up there this year to spend my hard-earned money in protest of your actions.  I will be urging my photography fans to do likewise until your contest has been stopped.


Sincerely,

John E. Marriott
John E. Marriott Wildlife and Nature Photography

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Would this wolf pup photographed two years ago in the Fort St John area qualify for the $150 smallest wolf prize?

I urge each of you to do three things: one, please copy those email addresses up above and write to them with your thoughts on this contest (and note that you will have to add your own local Re/Max agent email addresses).  Please keep it clean and stick to the facts, and tell them that until this is stopped that you will no longer be considering trips up the Alaska Highway.

Two, if you know ethical hunters, please pass this along to them so that they can voice their say on this.  It is painting all hunters in a bad light and I want to see who, if anyone, will step forward and let us know their thoughts, good or bad.

And three, please leave your comments below for others to read.

Thanks everyone,

John
Note: The Vancouver Sun has since published a follow-up story to this highlighting my call for a boycott of tourism along the Alaska Highway until this is resolved. 

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

SPOT link for Polar Bears

For anyone that's interested in following along on where I'll be looking for polar bears in the next few weeks, please feel free to check out my SPOT tracker: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0mW5e7p6NCHY7NqPGsYiVblkcbZhK34pd

Happy shooting!

John

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

CTV Interview yesterday

Hi everyone, just a quick note in case you missed it yesterday, but I was interviewed on CTV for Alberta Primetime regarding my raven image and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards.  You can now check it out online at http://www.albertaprimetime.com/Stories.aspx?pd=4451

I'm off tomorrow at the crack of dawn for my two polar bear tours in Nunavut.  Wish me luck!

Cheers,

John

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