Our View: What are the alternatives?

It seems the BC government has never heard the aphorism “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

It seems the BC government has never heard the aphorism “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

If provincial leaders ever heard George Santayana’s famous words, they didn’t seem to have made much of an impact. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be discussing a provincial wolf cull again.

The idea of culling wolves was tried in the 1980s, to great public opposition. From 1982 to 1986, 798 wolves were killed, according to the Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre.

Yet caribou populations didn’t rebound and here we are again, with the province once again suggesting that the best way to help those dwindling caribou herds is to get up in a helicopter and kill wolves. The helicopter, presumably, makes it easier to cover more ground and get more of those dastardly wolves in a single outing.

It’s not even supported by government experts. According to a report prepared by Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, a cull would need to kill at least 80 per cent of the wolf population and keep it up for more than five years.

Even then, the report said a cull is only a short-term solution, since wolf populations quickly recover and the long-term effects on the ecology could bring worse problems.

But whether or not a wolf cull would be effective isn’t really the best question to be asking.

Culls only offer a solution to the immediate problem. Killing wolves prevents them from eating caribou, but the real problem starts with human encroachment on their habitat.

That isn’t going to be solved by a few less, or even a lot less, wolves.

What we, as a society, need to be asking is what are the alternatives to killing these animals, rather than going to a cull as a first solution.

 

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