April 24, 2014
Premier Christy Clark
Management Plan for the Grey Wolf in British Columbia
The powerful anti-wolf faction of the Fish & Wildlife Branch (FLNR) has struck again! They have successfully neutered all the 1,614 submissions to the Draft Management Plan for the Grey Wolf in BC, seeking more protection and conservation for the wolf in the Final Plan.
Your government received just over 2,500 submissions to the Draft Plan and 65% (1,614) of the respondents “voted”against the Draft Plan. Having carefully reviewed the comparison of the Draft Plan to the Final Plan on a line by line basis, there were only cosmetic changes made and this took 16 months for FLNR to accomplish this minor revision.
The anti-wolf faction was not going to tolerate any challenge to their authority and they prevailed by rejecting in totality, all the recommendations for more conservation measures for BC’s wolves!
The 2014 Plan replaced the Preliminary Wolf Management Plan for British Columbia (1979). Again, I compared these two plans carefully on a line by line basis and the 1979 Plan is much more progressive. The 2014 Plan is consumed with convincing all readers that the cattlemen’s desire to control the wolf due to significant predation on their cattle is paramount. Despite the fact that your own government official statistics show that between Feb. 2012 – Feb. 2013, all predators killed 162 cattle out of a population of over 200,000 cattle in BC. That is .08 of one percent predation which is a very low number. The USDA keeps very accurate stats and in northwestern USA, wolves also killed only .10 of one percent of the cattle. Your government minister and officials have got to stop parroting the rhetoric of the cattlemen, proclaiming all this predation done by wolves.
The viewing and listening for wolves is an activity that is desired by many British Columbians and visitors to BC. There is virtually no mention of the benefit (socially & economically) of wolf ecotourism in the Final Plan. They state in 6.2 Management Objectives:
2. to provide opportunities for economic, cultural & recreational use of wolves consistent with Ministry program plans.
There is much greater emphasis on wolf ecotourism in the 1979 Plan. The 1979 Wolf Management Plan states an important objective is to provide opportunities for people to listen to & observe wolves in their natural habitat. This is the result of public demand for the non-hunting of wolves. The Fish & Wildlife Branch will promote this use wherever it is possible. Some wilderness areas will be managed primarily for non-hunting recreation (listening & observing).
The 1979 Plan recognizes the need to balance the public land base use for cattle and large carnivores, including wolves. The 2014 Plan is silent on this discussion. The Preliminary Plan states cattle grazing is taking more precedent & importance on public land than large carnivores, particularly wolves. One of the Management Prescriptions states, “designate areas where large predators, including wolves, should be protected against intrusion of grazing which historically has led to the extirpation of wolves over much of North America. Expanding livestock production is increasing wolf/man conflicts in central & northern areas of the Province. Consideration must also be given to limiting livestock grazing on marginal agricultural lands, especially if the wildlife capability or value is high. To this end, the Fish & Wildlife Branch will designate areas where wolves should have priority over livestock& therefore where livestock must be excluded in the best interest of the wolf as a species.”
The 1979 Plan acknowledged the inventory of wolves was problematic and more resources needed to be employed to get an accurate census of wolves. In the 35 years between the plans, no work was done to correct this problem because the 2014 Plan also recognizes this major shortcoming.
Between the two plans, the earlier plan is much more balanced and recognizes the need for better treatment of canis lupus. I feel that we can even improve upon the 1979 Plan and I wrote to Minister Thomson on March 12, 2014, requesting him to consider changes to current policy on the management of wolves. I have yet to receive a response from him. I have included a copy of that letter so you can see the changes that need to be made.
Your government has to refrain from just appeasing the cattlemen when their claims are not justified and to recognize the valuable contribution the wolf makes in keeping and restoring healthy ecosystems. Scrap this current, draconian plan and instruct your Ministry (FLNR) to listen to the vast majority of British Columbians who submitted valuable recommendations for more protection and conservation of the wolf.
Gary R. Allan
cc. Norm MacDonald, NDP Deputy Environment Critic
Andrew Weaver, Green Party
Claire Trevena, MLA for North Vancouver Island