The provincially sanctioned wolf kill this winter in which wolves are being shot by sharp shooters in helicopters has the noble end goal of helping endangered caribou herds survive possible extinction.
But, similar to the debate around resurrecting the woolly mammoth with a little bit of DNA cloning, it’s not exactly a black and white issue.
As MLA Norm Macdonald writes in his MLA Report (see next page), the government waited until it was too late before acting on the improper management of the Mount Polley mine, and the tailings pond dam failed. Just the other day the premier announced new funding to increase geotechnical staff to conduct more inspections.
Had the announcement been part of a logical, long-term plan to mitigate any safety issues, it would have carried a lot more weight. After the fact, it comes across as a hollow knee-jerk reaction.
Killing wolves to save endangered caribou makes about as much sense as announcing more money for mine inspections after the environmental disaster has already occured.
The publicly funded Recovery Plan that was announced in 2008, when B.C. had an estimated 1,885 mountain caribou, was supposed to bring the population up to 2,500 within 20 years.
Instead the numbers of caribou have dangerously declined — hence, kill the wolves.
No examination of the government’s decision to permit or turn a blind eye on snowmobile use in areas of critical caribou habitat, or its silence on any of the three park proposals in the mountain caribou range that would offer substantial support to herds.
Habitat loss is driving the caribou decline, not the caribou’s natural predator.
The wolf kill is a last-ditch attempt to rectify a problem, that, like Mount Polley, is another example of the government’s inability to properly manage its vested interests.
It may have a short-term effect, but the long-term problem won’t be eradicated by sharp shooters in helicopters.