Pacific Wild has released a Cease and Desist letter to B.C.’s FLNROD Minister Doug Donaldson for the province’s ongoing wolf cull on the grounds that aerial gunning is unlawful. The B.C. government has stated it intends to continue killing wolves from helicopters in 2020. In response, Pacific Wild retained legal counsel and believes they have found grounds to prove it to be illegal under B.C. law.
“Hundreds of wolves are being killed each year in the most horrific fashion, at tax-payer expense. Now we find out it is most likely illegal, and our organization is prepared to challenge the government’s cull in court,” said Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild’s Executive Director.
“Between 2015 and 2019, the B.C. government has continued its aerial gunning, killing at least 425 wolves using snipers from helicopters. Over 100 additional wolves were killed by other methods during this time,” stated Bryce Casavant, Senior Conservation Policy Analyst at Pacific Wild. “Our research team and legal counsel at Breder Law believes these wolf killing actions to be in direct contravention of B.C. law,” Casavant continued.
Rebeka Breder, a B.C. lawyer with Breder Law, issued the Cease and Desist letter to Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development Doug Donaldson late last week demanding the wolf cull be halted due to unlawful activities and public safety concerns.
McAllister says, “From what we can tell, the government has been unlawfully issuing permits to shoot wolves from a helicopter. We want the government to respond to that allegation.” He adds, “Wolves are an integral part of B.C.'s wilderness and are key in maintaining ecosystem function. Unfortunately, these highly intelligent, social animals continue to be scapegoated for the decline of ungulates while the government continues to bow to industry and critical habitat continues to be decimated in British Columbia.”
The wolf cull in B.C. has taken many forms since the early 1900s, with over 28,000 wolves killed between 1922-1955. Since the late 1950s, the provincial government has killed thousands of more wolves through various poisoning, trapping, ground shooting, and other killing methods. Aerial gunning from helicopters began in the 1980s but was halted by B.C.’s Supreme Court in 1988 after certain wolf killing permits were found to be outside a regional manager’s authority at that time.
Currently, the wolf cull involves radio-collaring single wolves, tracking them to their packs, and then aerial gunning the wolf family units from helicopters. Under section 27 of the Wildlife Act, it is considered an offence to “use a helicopter while on a hunting expedition”. While certain exemptions exist under permit regulations, these exemptions do not extend to civilian contractors engaged in a hunting expedition with a helicopter. As such, the Regional Manager does not have the authority to issue permits for any planned culling activity with helicopters.
There are additional concerns about the inhumane impact of aerial shooting, and the dangers this poses to rural citizens. Pacific Wild is acting in the public interest in its attempt to protect the province’s wolves and ensure public safety. We demand that the government immediately cease to proceed with the wolf cull.
About Pacific Wild:
Pacific Wild is a wilderness and wildlife protection non-profit organization in British Columbia. One of its main campaigns is to raise public awareness of the importance wolves play in British Columbia's ecosystem, and to protect wolves in this province.
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