Alberta Wolf Kill and “Collateral Damage”‏

Besides the 1000 wolves at least 163 cougars have been killed, along with 38 wolverine, etc. It also demonstrates what happpens when you allow habitat degradation to occur.

http://www.raincoast.org/2015/01/alberta-wolf-slaughter/

Alberta slaughters more than 1,000 wolves and hundreds of other animals

WARNING:  THIS A DISTURBING ACCOUNT OF ANIMAL SUFFERING AND SLAUGHTER

Killing wolves for

Published on 2015 · 01 · 10 by Raincoast
Raincoast scientists Dr. Paul Paquet and Dr. Chris Darimont, along with colleagues at the University of Saskatchewan, have published the paper “Maintaining Ethical Standards during Conservation Crises” in the journal Canadian Wildlife Biology and Management.  It  addresses the ethics and science of the  Alberta wolf cull as published in Canadian Journal of Zoology, November 2014.
Download this paper: Brook et al 2015 CWBM
Download the press release
The wolf kill
For the last few years, Raincoast has been sounding the alarm about the slaughter of wolves at the hands of the Alberta government.  This slaughter is a consequence of Alberta oil and gas development, and other industrial activities, that have endangered caribou.  The Alberta government and its resource industries have transformed the caribou’s boreal habitat into a landscape that can no longer provide the food, cover and security that these animals need to survive.  Rather than address this problem, Alberta has chosen to scapegoat wolves that are using a huge network of new roads and corridors to reach dwindling numbers of caribou.
For a decade now, the Alberta government has hired hitmen and biologists to kill wolves, more than 1,000 of them, through aerial gunning from helicopters, poisoning with strychnine, and allowing them to be strangled with neck snares.  They also trap and collar wolves that become “Judas wolves,” leading the gunners to the pack.  After shooting all but the collared wolf, the collared wolf then leads the gunners to more wolves and then watches as they too are slaughtered.
Not just wolves
In addition to aerial gunning, strychnine is set out to poison wolves.  Many other species that incidentally eat the poison also die. We do not have a death toll for the additional animals that died from poisoning. Neck snares, another form of torture and suffering, are also permitted.  Internal Alberta government documents show that up until 2012, neck snares were the primary cause of death for 676 animals, in addition to the wolves, around the Little Smokey region in Alberta. Note caribou, the reason for the wolf cull in the first place, are dying as incidental deaths in neck snares.
Number of animals/species that have died incidentally in Alberta’s wolf kill (up to 2012) near the Little Smokey region, primarily in neck snares.  Numbers obtained from internal Alberta government documents.
Black bear 12
Caribou 2
Cougar 163
Deer 62
Eagle (bald and golden) 40
Fisher 173
Fox 3
Grizzly bear 3
Goshawk 1
Lynx 70
Moose 12
Otter 73
Owls 12
Small mammals (marten, mink, skunk, squirrel, weasel) 12
Wolverine 38
TOTAL 676
Calling it science
In 2014, 5 authors (3 from Alberta government, 1 from University of Montana, 1 from University of Alberta) published a paper in the Canadian Journal of Zoology (CJZ) called Managing wolves to recover threatened caribou in Alberta.  This paper describes, condones, and implements the use of aerial gunning and strychnine poisoning as acceptable methods to undertake their study on caribou survival. Neck snares are not included in the journal study methods, despite their known use for killing wolves in the Little Smokey Region.
A response to this paper was published in the journal of Canadian Wildlife Biology and Management in February 2015  by Raincoast scientists and colleagues called “Maintaining Ethical Standards during Conservation Crises“.
The above response addresses the issue of ethics and animal welfare in science. Research on animals in Canadian universities and papers published in the CJZ must meet ethical standards from an animal care committee (nationally, the Canadian Council on Animal Care). Poisoning and aerial gunning (using Judas wolves)  do not meet these criteria.  Below is the call for proposal from the beginning of the study with the statement that the lethal methods being employed were approved according to protocols 008 and 009.  Also below are protocols 008 and 009 that show such activities are not permitted.  The objective of these protocols (specifically 9) is to enforce the humane treatment of animals and ensure minimal stress. In the event that a wolf is injured during a study it describes how euthanasia must occur.  A gun shot is explicit to extreme cases in close range where a single shot to the head causes instant death.  To imply such permits allow a wildlife slaughter is dishonest, at best.
Huffington Post Articles
Additional files for download

Experimental wolf cull in Alberta ignites scientific criticism over inhumane research

“The caribou are endangered because extensive and unabated industrial development of [obscenely omnipotent] oil, [goddamn] gas and [fucking] forestry operations has destroyed and degraded the habitat that provides life sustaining food, shelter, and security.” [NOT because of the wolf!!]

http://www.raincoast.org/2015/02/wolf-cull-ignites-critisim/

Experimental wolf cull in Alberta ignites scientific criticism over inhumane research

Scientists highlight the failure to abide by ethical standards of animal research and welfare.

3 running wolves-PCP

In a scathing commentary published today in the peer-reviewed journal, Canadian Wildlife Biology and Management, scientists from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the Universities of Saskatchewan and Victoria denounce the failure of researchers, government agencies, research institutions, and the scientific publishing process to abide by recognized ethical standards of animal research and welfare.

Download  the journal paper Maintaining ethical standards during conservation crises

In the November issue of the Canadian Journal of Zoology, a team of researchers described a gruesome wolf culling experiment and last-minute bid to halt the decline of the Little Smoky caribou herd in Alberta. The caribou are endangered because extensive and unabated industrial development of oil, gas and forestry operations has destroyed and degraded the habitat that provides life sustaining food, shelter, and security.

The researchers oversaw a study in which at least 733 wolves and hundreds of other animals suffered and died by methods considered inhumane by the Canadian Council of Animal Care (CCAC). The CCAC provides ethical guidelines that scientists in Canada normally comply with to ensure that animals used in research are treated humanely. Bypassing CCAC standards, managers from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development administered the killing. Cooperative university investigators assessed the outcome of the cull. Most wolves died violent deaths via aerial gunning from helicopters. Others succumbed to poisoning after ingesting baits laced with strychnine. These methods of killing do not conform to CCAC’s recognized and acceptable standards of euthanasia, owing to the extended pain and suffering they often cause.

“Expedient but inadequate emergency ‘fixes’ have been experimentally implemented to arrest the impending loss of caribou”, said co-author Dr. Ryan Brook of the University of Saskatchewan, “but no context can justify methods that impose such suffering”.

Co-author Dr. Gilbert Proulx, Director of Science at Alpha Wildlife Research & Management Ltd, agreed. “There is a need to improve checks and balances that would normally prevent the approval, execution, and publication of unethical animal research”, he said. Despite questionably modest improvements to caribou declines, the researchers advocated for the continued killing of wolves. “Such short-sighted recommendations add fuel to the fire regarding the growing controversy and scrutiny of the unethical and unscientific Alberta wolf cull”, stated Chris Genovali, Executive Director of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

The study also troubled co-author Dr. Chris Darimont, Hakai-Raincoast Professor at the University of Victoria and science director for the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. “Proponents of resource extraction can now announce that a ‘solution’ to the caribou crisis is in hand, enabling additional habitat destruction that harms caribou and wolves. So despite intentions otherwise, wolf control creates greater long-term harm than good to animals and ecosystems, failing a simple test of ethics.”

“In this case, the intended but very uncertain ends cannot justify the means”, said co-author Dr. Paul Paquet, senior scientist at the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria and. “Experiments that involve the intentional inhumane killing of animals violate the fundamental principles of ethical science and rightfully endanger the reputation of science and scientists, as well as the journals willing to publish them”.

Citation: Brook, Ryan, Marc. Cattet, Chris T. Darimont, Paul C. Paquet, & Gilbert Proulx. 2015. Maintaining ethical standards during conservation crises. Canadian Wildlife Biology and Management Issue 4, pages 72-79.

Available in Open Access format here or download the pdf

Killing Canadian Wolves Violated Accepted Welfare Guidelines

Wed 2/11/15 6:15 PM

Killing Canadian Wolves Violated Accepted Welfare Guidelines

Killing Canadian Wolves Violated Accepted Welfare Guidelines

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 11, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A team of scientists has published an essay, just released today, that clearly shows that the killing spree by the Canadian government that resulted in the slaughter of 890 wolves should never have been conducted nor published because it violated clearly stated welfare guidelines. This new essay is a much-needed response to the horrific slaughter of the wolves.

Taxpayers Fund Mass Killing of Wolves in British Columbia

http://panampost.com/rebeca-morla/2015/02/04/taxpayers-fund-mass-killing-of-wolves-in-british-columbia/

As many as 184 wolves must be shot in British Columbia, Canada, in order to save the caribou, according to a statement from the provincial government. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations announced plans on January 15 to address what they consider the threat of wolf predation in the areas of the South Selkirk Mountains and the South Peace, along the border of US states Washington and Idaho.

The caribou, one of Canada’s most recognized national symbols, “is at high risk of local extinction,” according to the ministry’s statement.

The government claims the South Selkirk caribou population declined from 46 in 2009 to just 18 as of March 2014, adding that “evidence points to wolves being the leading cause of mortality.”

The ministry further cites a joint-research project between officials from British Colombia, Washington and Idaho states, First Nations, the US Forest Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which found wolves killed two of the remaining caribou in the past 10 months.

Authorities also claim that in the area of South Pearce, inhabited by four caribou herds, at least 37 percent of all “adult [caribou] mortalities have been documented as wolf predation.”

In order to “remove” the wolves from these areas, the government will deploy “trained sharpshooters” to shoot the animals from a helicopter. The operation will cost overcopyrighted wolf in water US$500,000.

This latest wolf cull follows the killing of more than 1,000 wolves in the forests of Alberta, between 2005 and 2012, in an attempt to protect 100 caribou living there.

However, while the wolf hunt in Alberta stabilized caribou numbers in the region, it did not result in a population increase, according to a study published in November 2014 in the Canadian Journal of Zoology

The War on Wolves

Ian McAllister, conservation director for Pacific Wild, believes the government’s focus on wolves ignores the real issue concerning the caribou’s habitat.

“While the government is not moving forward to protect adequate amounts of habitat to save the caribou, they’re instead using wolves as a scapegoat and planning just a horrific level of aerial killing in the coming months,” McAllister said. “This is truly a war on wolves in British Columbia.”

McAllister, who started an online petition against the cull, told local newspaper the Province that the fundamental threat to caribou is human encroachment and the destruction of their natural environment.

“Killing every single wolf in this province will not save those caribou. But they’re killing wolves anyway. The wolves are being used as scapegoats.”

Moreover, McAllister argues that the government’s wolf cull violates the guidelines set forth by the Canadian Council on Animal Care regarding wild animal euthanasia.

According to the guidelines, the only “acceptable methods” for animal euthanasia produce “death with minimal pain and distress when used on conscious or sedated animals.”

“There’s no way they can kill that many wolves without missing shots and injuring animals,” McAllister told the Province. “You will have wounded wolves returning to ripped-apart family units … their suffering will be extreme.”

“Foolish and Inhumane”

David Shellenberger, a self-described advocate of international liberty and animal welfare, told the PanAm Post that the mass killing of wolves in British Columbia is typical of the government’s treatment of wolves and other predators.

“States almost always serve themselves and their cronies,” said Shellenberger. “When it comes to wolves, this means doing the bidding of the hunting and livestock industries. Governments also fear monger regarding wolves, exploiting ignorance and prejudice.”

Shellenberger further explained that wolves benefit prey species, including caribou, and argued that they are “essential to the general ecological health of habitats.”

“The decline of caribou,” he states, “is the result of government’s mismanagement of land; it is not the fault of wolves. Killing wolves is foolish and inhumane. Wolves are not only ecologically essential, but also intrinsically and economically valuable.”

There are more efficient ways to preserve caribou herds, says Shellenberger, without sacrificing other species. “The long-range answer for the health of the caribou population is better stewardship of land, ideally through the government giving ownership to conservation organizations or creating a trust structure.”

“An immediate possible answer,” he added, “is the farming of caribou.”

Edited by Guillermo Jimenez.

Wolf Murder Canadian Style Continues as if it’s Conservation

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201501/wolf-murder-canadian-style-continues-if-its-conservation

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 28, 2015 in Animal Emotions
The Canadian government plans to kill wolves once again to save caribou. An earlier murder escapade in Alberta didn’t work and there’s no reason to assume this one will. They even use collared “Judas” wolves to lead shooters to more wolves. The real problem is loss of habitat due to oil and gas development and logging. Some people just like to kill other animals for fun.

Captain Paul Watson on B.C. Wolf Kill

copyrighted wolf argument settled

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-sparks-controversy-by-bringing-back-wolf-hunt/article22547547/

Critics of the helicopter hunt say endangered caribou herds are in decline because of habitat loss, not wolf predation, and that shooting wolves in a pack can traumatize the rest of the family group.

B.C. sparks controversy by bringing back wolf hunt

The British Columbia government is back in the air shooting wolves nearly 30 years after it abandoned a controversial aerial hunt that triggered rallies in several U.S. cities and saw activists parachuting into the wilderness in an attempt to stop the kill.

The government is refusing to divulge how many animals it has shot during the first week of the helicopter hunt, but its plan to protect endangered caribou by eliminating nearly 200 wolves in the South Selkirks and South Peace regions is once again threatening to stir protests from activists, including Paul Watson.

Mr. Watson, perhaps the world’s most famous wildlife campaigner, said B.C.’s justification for the hunt is no more acceptable now than it was in the 1980s, when he first drew international attention to it.

“There are a lot of activists in British Columbia. I’m going to talk to them about reviving Friends of the Wolf,” Mr. Watson, head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said on Tuesday in an interview from Paris.

Mr. Watson founded Friends of the Wolf in 1984 to campaign against the hunt, which stopped in 1985, only to be revived briefly in 1987. Over four years, about 1,000 wolves were killed to reduce predation of moose, caribou and mountain sheep.

“Maybe we’ll have to make a big deal of it, like we did in 1984, ’85,” Mr. Watson said.

“I think it’s a complete disgrace,” he said of the hunt. “There’s no scientific evidence behind this. Wolves and their prey are very important and essential part of the ecosystem and we are constantly disrupting it.”

Ian McAllister, a wildlife photographer and head of Pacific Wild, said opposition to the wolf hunt is growing rapidly.

“I can say that in 20 years of wildlife work, I’ve never seen a reaction like what we are seeing right now. We’ve had one-and-a-half million people go through our website, we got something like 40,000 signatures [on a petition] urging government to reconsider this,” he said. “All our phone lines were jammed with people calling. They are just outraged about this.”

Mr. McAllister has spent years photographing wolf packs at close quarters. He said wolves are highly social, and shooting even one in a pack can traumatize the rest of the family group.

“To start killing and wounding numerous ones, day after day, it’s horrendous. It’s one of the most inhumane things humans could commit in the natural world. It’s unthinkable,” he said.

Sadie Parr of Wolf Awareness Inc., a B.C.-based non-profit foundation dedicated to public education, said the endangered caribou herds are in decline because of habitat loss, not wolf predation.

“This certainly is a conservation dilemma,” she said of the declining caribou herds. “It’s a very complicated problem. But we have to recognize we are in this situation because of us [humans], not because of anything wolves have done.”

Ms. Parr said she has been bombarded with requests for information since the hunt was announced last week.

“People are really, really upset, and rightfully so. This is barbaric and the world is paying attention,” she said.

The B.C. Ministry of Lands did not have a spokesperson available on Tuesday, but e-mailed a statement from Stan Boutin of the University of Alberta, who conducted an independent review of the wolf management plan.

“I support the B.C. government decision to use wolf control in an attempt to recover the herds,” he wrote. “Wolf control appears to be part of a broader recovery plan that also includes important measures to protect and recover habitat.”

But Green MLA Andrew Weaver said the government cannot verify its claim that wolves are the leading cause of caribou mortality.

“I am supportive of science-based initiatives that promote conservation but in this particular case, I cannot find the ‘evidence’ the government is apparently relying on,” he wrote in a letter to Lands Minister Steve Thomson.

Researchers Kill 890 Wolves to Learn About Them: There’s Something Very Wrong

Back by special request:

 12/09/2014    Professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado

 copyrighted wolf in water

I’ve written a number of essays that have centered on the question, “Should animals be killed in the name of, or under the guise of, conservation?” The basic foundation of the rapidly growing field of compassionate conservation, “First do no harm,” maintains that the lives of individual animals matter and that killing in the name of conservation should not be done (see here).

Just recently this question arose once again when the Canadian Journal of Zoology (CJZ) published a research article by Dave Hervieux, Mark Hebblewhite, Dave Stepnisky, Michelle Bacon and Stan Boutin titled “Managing wolves (Canis lupus) to recover threatened woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Alberta” that presented the outcome of an “experiment” in mass killing in which 890 Canadian wolves suffered and died using aerial gunning, trapping and poisoning with strychnine. The strychnine also killed other animals who were not part of the study. Minimum “collateral damage” that was deemed acceptable by the researchers and the CJZ included 91 ravens, 36 coyotes, 31 foxes, 8 marten, 6 lynx, 4 weasels and 4 fisher. (For more on how wolves are highly stressed when hunted please see “Wolves: Hunting Affects Stress, Reproduction and Sociality.”)

Part of the methods section of this paper reads as follows (references can be found in the link above):

Wolf packs were located from a helicopter and one or more wolves per pack were captured using net-gunning techniques and fit with a VHF radio collar. Using a helicopter, we then subsequently attempted to lethally remove all remaining members of each pack through aerial-shooting throughout the winter (sensu Courchamp et al. 2003; Hayes et al. 2003), with the radio-collared wolves removed at the end of winter. Wolf captures were conducted according to Alberta Wildlife Animal Care Committee class protocol No. 009 (Alberta Sustainable Resource Development 2005)

Furthermore,

We also established toxicant bait stations, using strychnine, to augment aerial shooting and to target wolves that could not be found or removed using aerial-shooting. Strychnine is permitted for use in Alberta for the purpose of predator control (authorized by Government of Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency following specific provisions outlined in Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division’s ‘Standards’.

It’s important also to note that this mass killing did not work — not that it would even be remotely justified if it did. As stated in the abstract of the research paper, “Although the wolf population reduction program appeared to stabilize the Little Smoky population, it did not lead to population increase.”

When I told some colleagues and friends about this study they were incredulous and aghast. Cloaked in a lab coat and under the guise of conservation biology, this egregious study raises serious questions about oversight and approval of lethal research involving wild animals. It is hard to imagine any other scientific investigation of a wild mammal being organized around the principle of mass killing. The inhumane methods used to experimentally “euthanize” the wolves are of the type used years ago and widely abandoned as unethical because of their inhumaneness. And, of course, the wolves were not euthanized, which suggests they were killed to end interminable pain and suffering.

The approach demonstrated in this paper reflects exactly why animal care committees were created to provide oversight on research methods and to avoid research being conducted and published that clearly fails to meet even minimum ethical standards. This research and publication represents the systematic moral failure of the Alberta government, participating universities, the Canadian Journal of Zoology, and individual scientists who carried out the study.

Of course, the main question at hand is, “How did this study ever get approved and conducted?” This question must be aired and discussed openly and widely. One colleague asked me, “How can these researchers sleep at night?” Frankly, I have no idea. I also pondered why a study like this can be approved, conducted and published in a peer-reviewed journal, yet people get furious, as they should, when a dog is shot, trapped or poisoned.

I was sickened when I learned about this so-called study, and remain incredulous that it was conducted. Simply put, this reprehensible study sets an unethical, inhumane and horrific precedent that must be universally opposed.

This essay was written with Dr. Paul Paquet who works with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Grizzly involved in fatal attack on hunter will stay in K-Country with cub

http://www.calgaryherald.com/Grizzly+involved+fatal+attack+hunter+will+stay+Country+with/10196069/story.html

By Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald September 11, 2014

Grizzly involved in fatal attack on hunter will stay in K-Country with cub

Richard Cross was killed by a grizzly bear in Kananaskis Country on the weekend. Officials have decided against destroying the bear responsible for his death, ruling it a defensive attack.

Photograph by: Facebook photo , Calgary Herald

A grizzly bear that killed a sheep hunter in Kananaskis Country on the weekend will be left in the area with her cub, after it was ruled a defensive attack.

On the weekend, Calgarian Rick Cross was walking alone along the Picklejar Creek trail when he was attacked and killed by the bear.

“It was definitely a defensive attack, not a predatory one,” said Glenn Naylor, district conservation officer with Kananaskis Country. “That was the main decision-making factor, but we have to look at all of the evidence and all possible scenarios first.

“The evidence clearly points to the fact that he out of the blue encountered this situation and the chain of events that happened pretty quickly.”

Cross was hunting for big horn sheep Saturday, but didn’t return home that night as expected. His family reported him missing to police Sunday morning and a search began immediately.

Officers found his backpack and rifle Sunday, but had to call off the search as darkness fell and bears were still in the area. They found his remains not far from his belongings a day later.

Naylor said the evidence shows that the bear responded defensively, both because of its cub and a freshly killed deer carcass in the area.

“It attacked Mr. Cross and the result was tragic. He was killed,” he said. “After he was no longer a threat, the bear left him alone. He wasn’t touched again.”

That led biologists with both Alberta Parks and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development to rule it a defensive attack.

“That was the conclusion that was arrived at by everyone,” he said, noting other options would have been to capture and relocate the bear, or destroy it.

Naylor said provincial officials have met with the Cross family about their decision to leave it alone.

“They were appreciative of all of our efforts,” he said. “They had no problem with the result.”

Kim Titchener, program director at Bow Valley WildSmart, said it’s the decision she expected.

“They have a great reputation for doing what’s right for wildlife and what’s right for public safety,” she said. “That bear isn’t a threat. She was doing what bears do.”

The Picklejar area will remain closed until the bear and her cub are finished feeding on the deer carcass.

cderworiz@calgaryherald.com

EU court upholds seal fur ban!

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The EU’s three-year-old ban on seal fur will remain intact after the bloc’s highest court threw out a legal challenge by the Canadian Inuit and the country’s fur trade.
The case had been brought by Inuit community group, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), and the Fur Institute of Canada, with both organizations claiming that their livelihood depends on the trade.
Continuing reading here:
http://euobserver.com/economic/119959