Predators must be managed along with prey, Bennett says

BC to hold another wolf cull to protect endangered caribou herds.

  • Sep. 25, 2015 5:00 p.m.
The Province is conducting a second wolf cull this year to protect endangered caribou herds.

The Province is conducting a second wolf cull this year to protect endangered caribou herds.

CAROLYN GRANT

In response to the new billboard against the wolf cull, which went up this week on the TransCanada Highway near Golden, (Townsman/Bulletin, September 24, 2015), Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett says the provincial government manages all wildlife species and a full understanding of those management practices is necessary.

“You can’t effectively manage wildlife populations by managing prey species, and not predator species,” Bennett said. “We have been managing prey species like deer, elk and moose for over 100 years in North America. But when one predator species is allowed to expand without controls, the balance that wildlife management strives for is destroyed.”

“Wolves are social animals.  More than just numbers,” said Sadie Parr, executive director of Wolf Awareness. “Sustainable numbers do not necessarily mean that  a wolf population is thriving nor functioning naturally.

“Wolf social systems are extremely important. Their social bonds and kin-based families define what it means to be a wolf.”

Parr argues that since recording began for the province of BC in 1976, there are a record high number of wolves being killed through hunting and trapping.

Bennett disputes that.

“Wolves are a special case because unlike cougars and bears, conventional hunting is not an effective control lever for the species,” Bennett said. “Controlling wolf populations requires use of unique management tools and to the person who thinks we can still let nature “run its course”, the use of these special tools seems bizarre and cruel. We are 100 years past letting wildlife populations sort out their own balance.

“Like I said at the beginning, you cannot manage prey species without managing predator species. Allowing wolf populations to expand to the point where they are destroying the balance between predator and prey is irresponsible.”