Canada's Caribou Plan May Include Killing Thousands of Wolves

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The woodland caribou population has been on the Canadian government's worry list for quite some time. There is a serious problem, but the solutions don't come easy. One idea is to build a fence to protect the caribou from predators. It would be extremely expensive and may look like they are creating a zoo out of nature, and for such a large area it would be an extensive project. Culling wolves would be a less expensive route, and estimates of how many wolves to kill are in the thousands, in fact roughly 6,000 wolves would have to be killed every five years.

Thousands of wolves stand to be killed in Alberta as part of the federal government's new plan to sustain caribou in the oilsands area, environmental researchers say.

Some caribou herds in Canada are doing fine, but in northern Alberta and parts of British Columbia most of their herds are at the "unable to survive" status. So with culling the wolves and increasing hunting on moose and deer that share the caribou's habitat, there may be hope of saving the few caribou left in these areas so impacted.

The federal recovery plan is still in draft form and is in the midst of a 60-day comment period. Some environmental groups are aghast at the plan, saying it would allow resource development of key habitat to continue unhindered. Once the plan is approved and passed the provinces will be responsible for putting the plan into effect. From


hunter25's picture

I think it's great that

I think it's great that action is being taken and blame is being put where it belongs. In many of these reports they still try to down play the role wolves have in depleting the game herds around them. The sheer numbers of woves that need to be killed is amazing and should send a message to those that try to play the endangerd story. Wolves are not in short supply anywhere.

I sure wish I was able to get up there and help out and get to kill at least one or two of them. they are very high on my dream list of trophy animals.

deerhunter30's picture

It is unfortunate that they

It is unfortunate that they would have to kill so many wolves but if it means that it is saving another species than I am all for it. It is not like they are eliminating the wolves, they are just controling them so another animal has a chance to bounce back.

I hope there plan works and that the caribou start to grow stronger herds. Good luck.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

That sounds like one of the

That sounds like one of the best plans I have ever heard in order to help out a species make a comeback.  caribou always seem like they would be easy prey and I am sure the wolves just love to kill them for sport. Hope they can get it so the herds will stay strong.  Plus maybe some of the southern states will take note.

Caribou fall to predators

Caribou fall to predators very easy.  Here in north idaho when ever more caribou are released mountain lions wipe them out.  Predators are definately an issue here.  Also caribou don't do as well in areas that have been burned in the last 50 years.  not enough old growth lichen growing.   

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Has anyone seen the "Planet

Has anyone seen the "Planet Earth" series from a couple of years ago.  I believe it was that series that had a segment where they filmed a wolf pack fromt he air, chasing down and eventually capturing a baby caribou.  It was amazing to watch them at work.  Fast and efficient.

I just laugh though, that in a country that is more liberal than ours, they will still be able to do this.  Look at all the stuff we're going through down here trying to get small wolf hunts planned, and they want to kill 6,000 over 5 years in one part?  Man, more power to them if they can do it.

I would like to see what kind of industrial development goes along with the oilsands projects.  I know that in Alaska, the pipeline there does not bother the caribou at all.  They just pass right underneath it.  Maybe the oil fields in British Colombia cover a greater area??? 

groovy mike's picture

I'll take the free moose tags!

Sign me up for free moose tags to save the caribou!!!!   

I assume that they are thinking that teh moose and caribou compete for feed, but I'm not sure that is the case.  Similarly, while I agree that wolf predation affects the caribou herd population and that wolf population management problems appear to be universal, I'm not sure if the wolves are what is causing the dramatic widespread decline of caribou across much of Canada.  With zero personal knowledge, my theory is that it might have more to do with teh fact that caribou are probably one of the species most susceptible to decline due to habitat loss.  No reindeer moss means no caribou.  So that is certainly a consideration that should be factored into herd management.    But as I have stated elsewhere several times, my feeling is that any time that there is an animal population management question and the decision has been made to reduce that population,  hunting is the most sane, economical, and efficient solution to any need to reduce that animal population.  So I applaud the idea of letting hunters solve the wolf population control problem.  As we can see from teh first few posts in reply here - bounties are not even necessary - just announce that there is an over abundant wolf population and allow outfitters to book inexpensive wolf hunts in that area and the end result will meet the end goal of a reduction in the number of wolves.  This is a win : win on every level for hunters, outfitters, and land owners - even for teh caribou.  In fact everyone except teh wolves would be pretty happy.  It might lead to a whole wolf hunting industry  and economic boom by bringing up hunters from the United States and from overseas.   

Thanks for keeping us up to date sharing the article and information as these efforts unfold.  I hope that they turn this around and the caribou herds rebound and expand as quickly as possible.  The sooner the better in my opinion!

SGM's picture

All you need to do is change

All you need to do is change the name of the game animal being depleted from caribou to elk and you have the same issue in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. What I also like is the idea of once this plan is approved control will go to the provinces to be managed. Will be interesting to see how many problems our northern neighbors will have with the anti's and animal rights groups.

niceshot_smitty's picture

sign me up for the wolve

sign me up for the wolve hunting.  i think that if you put fences up that would do more harm then good..