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AWA Wilderness & Wildlife Defenders: Wolf Bounties and Snares

March 15, 2016

Dear Wilderness Defender,

We need your help to ensure wolf management in Alberta accurately represents the best available science and the public’s regard for wildlife. Please take a few minutes to ask the Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks to stop the inhumane and archaic practices of wolf snaring and bounty wolf hunts.

-Andrea Johancsik, AWA Conservation Specialist

Issues

You may have heard about the inhumane practices of snaring wolves in Alberta. Recent news stories have once again brought to light the province’s mismanagement of wolves.

AWA believes Alberta’s wolf management must change so as to:

  • Value the important role that top predators play in ecosystems;
  • Recognize the real problems that wolves can cause instead of the mythological problems;
  • Deal with those real problems proactively, humanely, and scientifically.

Not only are the snares commonly used in Alberta inhumane, they are non-selective, meaning they also senselessly harm or kill by-catch such as cougars, eagles, bears and deer.

Alberta Environment and Parks department recognizes the original 1982 Wildlife Policy Alberta is outdated. We understand the policy is currently being revised, and this seems like a good time to give input and help the government to know how the general public believes wolf management should occur.

Background

Since 2007, at least 10 Alberta municipal governments have offered bounty programs which pay hunters up to $500 per wolf. At least 1,100 wolves have been killed since 2010 from this program. Unregulated privately funded wolf bounties in big game areas of the foothills also remains a concern.

The intent of bounties is to control predator populations, but indiscriminate wolf kills are archaic and ineffective. In fact, a 2014 study found that wolf control results in a temporary reduction in livestock predation locally, but may actually increase predation at a larger wolf population scale. A better approach is provincial and local government support for deterrents to prevent livestock-predator conflicts.

Wolf snares are one method used to kill wolves. Recent scientific research shows that snares are inhumane and cause unnecessary suffering and delayed deaths of both wolves and other species that inevitably end up as by-catch. Some scientists recommend they be made illegal.

Alberta’s poor wolf management practices are not being ignored internationally. In 2013 and again in 2014, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Canid Specialist Group wrote to the Alberta government urging the elimination of out-dated methods of wolf bounty payments in Alberta.

Take Action

Help your elected officials know that the province needs to take leadership on wolf management in Alberta by writing to:

Honorable Shannon Phillips
Minister of Environment and Parks
AEP.Minister@gov.ab.ca

And please copy

Write to Minister Phillips in your own words. Consider including several points as provided above, and ask her to:

  • Make the use of snares illegal, as they are inhumane and non-selective.
  • Commit to a provincial wolf management plan that uses measured scientific principles to prevent and address real conflicts.
  • Halt wolf bounties and incentive programs.

Thank you for taking action for Alberta’s wolves!

I needed something to pare the fat off my soul, to make me grateful again for being alive. And I knew… There is nothing like a wilderness journey for rekindling the fires of life.
- Colin Fletcher
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