When you feign ignorance, sometimes you get to hear the most interesting of stories. Like of how hunters kill wild wolves. Over the years traveling much of Canada, I have heard some real doozies, like of the time the guy in the Yukon told me how he chased a black wolf down with his snowmobile, then ran it over to kill it. It didn't die right away, so he ran it over some more.
It's appalling to me that here in Canada, a supposedly educated country that many would think ranks among the leaders in environmental protection, we find it perfectly acceptable to chase wolves to exhaustion with snowmobiles. In fact, not only is it legal in most of the country, but so is killing wolves by choking them to death with wolf snares (yesterday's blog post) or letting them suffer through endless nights in an archaic leg-hold trap. You can also take potshots at them along the road (not quite as legal, but it doesn't long in a group of wolf haters to start hearing the stories come out) and use wolf pup distress soundtracks or the calls of wounded rabbits to bring wolves in so they can be gunned down.
So why is it that we sit around and tolerate this kind of behaviour here in Canada and in the U.S. (where the once-slaughtered, then federally protected, now slaughtered-once-again wolf is under fire from all angles in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho). Why do we allow such barbaric practices like the Wolf Kill Contest in northern British Columbia to happen without making a big, BIG stink over it?
|What future awaits wild wolves like this one? A leg-hold trap or a safe, protected zone for its family?
Well, that's about to change (see below for what you can do to help).
Back in November when I first started reporting on the Fort St. John wolf kill contest, the Vancouver Sun published a series of articles on the contest that were picked up by media across the nation. One of those articles talked about the legality of the contest and noted that the environmental organization, Pacific Wild, had decided to look into whether or not the contest was legal. Days later, the provincial government was still sticking to its guns, claiming that the contest was legal and did not require a gambling permit (or a moral conscience, apparently).
So Pacific Wild, founded by noted Canadian environmental pioneers Ian and Karen McAllister, decided to take matters into their own hands. They sought legal advice. They concluded that the contest is indeed illegal and violates a number of sections of the Criminal Code of Canada. The Liberal government in BC continues to disagree with the opinions of Pacific Wild's legal counsel, so Pacific Wild has decided to up their challenge on the matter and pursue further legal action.
If your blood is still boiling over this and you want to help out, here's what you can do:
1. consider donating to Pacific Wild. In my opinion, they are one of Canada's foremost environmental organizations and I personally donated $250 to them at the start of January to help with this fight and other important battles they are waging at present (you can view Pacific Wild's wolf contest press release here and view comments from Pacific Wild's legal representation here).
2. you can Take Action on Pacific Wild's website and write a letter to the provincial government departments involved. Pacific Wild has even crafted a sample email, click here to voice your opposition to the illegal wolf kill contest. My only suggestion with this sample email is that you add in a few sentences of your own at the start so the government can't write them all off as 'form letters', which they seem keen to do.
[if the link isn't working for the sample email, then copy and paste the following into your email program:]
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Steve.Thomson.firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Please stop the illegal wolf kill contest immediately!
Honourable Rich Coleman
Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
(Minister responsible for B.C.
Honourable Terry Lake—Minister
Thomson—Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources
Dear Minister Coleman,
I am writing to express my
concern that an illegal wolf-kill contest is currently being supported by the
British Columbia government when it appears to be in violation of section 206
and 207 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
In addition to the criminal
nature of this contest, I am also concerned about a wildlife management policy
that allows prize money to be awarded for an unlimited, open-season killing of
a species without mandatory reporting, inspection and no requirement for a specific
I believe that the
provincial government is undermining its ability to manage wildlife when it
encourages unregulated financial incentives to encourage the killing of wolves,
a highly social and intelligent animal.
I look forward to your
3. 'CC' the NDP in on your email if you do send one: Adrian.Dix.MLA@leg.bc.ca They're most likely going to be the next government in British Columbia, and they have already shown more willingness to work with Pacific Wild on this issue and to develop a true management strategy for wolves in B.C. based on science and responsible wildlife management. If you oppose this wolf kill contest, then be sure to let them know.
I think together we can help put an end to wolf killing practices like this contest, and hopefully start to impact wolf management decisions that lead to the abolishment of wolf trapping using leg-hold traps and snares, as well as wolf hunting with snowmobiles, bait, and calls.
Thank you everyone for your support and stay tuned for more wolf news tomorrow on Day 3 of my Wolf Week.
Labels: british columbia photography, conservation, wildlife conservation, wolf kill contest, wolf photography, wolf week