Caribou herds in B.C. are divided into four groups, southern mountain (shown), central mountain, northern mountain and boreal. (B.C. government)

LETTERS: Wolf kills, wilderness protection and caribou recovery

Readers respond to Tom Fletcher’s column on B.C. program

Re: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou (B.C. Views, Oct. 13)

Killing wolves has been the “white man’s way” since we invaded First Nations’ territories prior to and after 1867.

Wolves are predators, caribou are prey, but recent documentaries by researchers have shown wolves to have a beneficial impact on more than prey numbers. Their activity affects the environment in ways that short-sighted hunters and biologists could not perceive.

Those who study wolves probably have conflicting information than those who study caribou.

Patrick Longworth, Penticton

• • •

The mountain caribou saga drags on with each new attempt by a fresh batch of bio-miracle-workers determined to reverse the inevitable.

The animals are able to exist in areas where snow is deep and dense enough to support them as they go from one feeding site to the next in search of arboreal lichens that are their primary source of food in winter.

Deer, elk, moose, wolves and cougars do not occupy this environment in winter, while grizzly bears do, they are not a threat when hibernating.

This particular caribou subspecies are nivaphiles (snow-lovers) and able to exist where the others, being nivaphobes (snow-haters) cannot. Wolves do not follow snowmobile tracks because they don’t exist in the deep snow environment in winter!

Therefore, Conservation Officers are not protecting mountain caribou, but they are preventing riders from enjoying the “steep and the deep” under the pretext of protecting the environment.

Ken Sumanik MSc (Zoology), retired B.C. government big game and habitat biologist, Richmond

• • •

I almost spit my coffee out when I read the quote “Caribou are declining in Wells Gray Provincial Park….where there has been no modern-day industrial disturbance.” The Wells Gray caribou herd’s range extends far beyond Wells Gray park.

I just got back from an expedition to core critical habitat of the Wells Gray herd, where I found more than 500 CFL football fields being logged just outside the park. This logging began in April, within core critical habitat.

I don’t think it’s rocket science to understand that for a species to survive, they need habitat. Of course, putting them in a pen and killing their predators will probably achieve an increase in caribou numbers, but this is less like recovery and more like a zoo.

Recovery means self-sustaining populations, where human influence is not needed. The over-reliance on wolf culls and maternity pens without protecting sufficient habitat will never achieve self-sustaining populations in the long run.

I’ve also been to the habitat of the South Selkirk herd. The amount of linear disturbance and resource extraction is immense. Yes, there were backcountry signs saying something like “caribou habitat stay out.” These signs were covered in bullet holes and signs on top of the ministry signs that said “snowmobiling closure not the answer.” Followed by snowmobile tracks into habitat which was supposed to be off limits.

Charlotte Dawe, conservation campaigner, Wilderness Committee, Vancouver

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: Revisiting alcohol consumption

A proposal to allow alcohol consumption in some public spaces in Penticton deserves consideration

Summerland businesses optimistic as reopening begins

Businesses make plans for restructuring as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed

Okanagan Skaha School District to reopen playgrounds

Facilities will reopen to the public on June 1

LETTER: Be aware of telephone scam

Call about vehicle warranty raised suspicions

Be prepared for high water, says RDOS

Higher than average water detected around the Ashnola Rover and Similkameen River

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Parts of the TCT through Princeton will open to motorized vehicles Monday

Parts of the KVR trail through Princeton will open for motorized vehicles… Continue reading

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

North Okanagan farmers’ markets excited to welcome artisans back amid COVID-19

Provincial health officer announced non-food items to return to markets this weekend

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Mother duck and babies rescued from Highway 97 in Lake Country

The mother and nine ducklings were taken to Duck Lake

Chef brings farm-to-table approach to new Shuswap restaurant

Darren Bezanson opening Bistro 1460 at Hilltop Inn

Most Read