Need for environmental impact assessment on ecological effects of wide-scale wolf reduction programs

Petition: 444

Issue(s): Biological diversity; Environmental assessment; Federal-provincial relations; Indigenous matters; Pesticides

Petitioner(s): A Canadian organization

Petitioner Location(s): Golden, British Columbia

Date Received: 27 May 2020

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition lays out several concerns about the implementation of caribou recovery partnership agreements under section 11 of the Species at Risk Act. The agreements involve the federal government, the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, the West Moberly First Nations, and the Saulteau First Nations. According to the petition, these agreements on recovery areas for the woodland caribou call for an indefinite wolf-kill program, which will result in negative ecological consequences. The petition questions why a federal environmental assessment has not been conducted on the ecological impacts of wolf killing in these ecosystems.

The petition claims scientific evidence shows that wolves play a major role in maintaining biological diversity and important ecosystems and in culling unhealthy animals. The petition discusses the wolf kill as it relates to bovine tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease, which the petition says pose serious biological threats to domestic livestock and are already present in wildlife populations in Alberta. The petition maintains that healthy wolf populations can contribute to reducing and limiting the spread of these diseases.

According to the petition, the federal government is supporting inhumane wildlife management techniques such as strychnine poisoning and aerial gunning, which are condemned by Canadian and international expert bodies, including the Canadian Council on Animal Care and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The petition states that the indiscriminate nature of strychnine has already killed a federally listed species at risk (grizzly bear) and 12 other non-targeted species in a program aimed at killing wolves.

The petition asks the federal government to abandon aerial gunning, use of poison, trapping incentives, and other management practices aimed at wide-scale reduction of predator populations until the Minister of Environment and Climate Change releases an environmental impact statement for this type of lethal wolf-reduction program.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Environment and Climate Change Canada; Health Canada