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AWA Letter: Alberta Wolf Bounties and Wolf Snaring

March 15, 2016

March 28, 2016

 

Hon. Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

Email: AEP.Minister@gov.ab.ca

 

RE: Alberta Wolf Bounties and Wolf Snaring

Dear Minister Phillips,

Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) is writing to ask that the inhumane and ineffective practices of wolf snaring and wolf bounties are stopped in Alberta. The provincial government, as the responsible authority for Alberta wildlife, should resume control of wolf management to reflect that wolves are a key predator in healthy ecosystems, and that conflicts between livestock producers and wolves should be managed proactively, scientifically and humanely.

As you know, AWA is an environmental non-governmental organization that has worked for more than 50 years throughout Alberta towards a more representative and connected wilderness protected areas network, and for good stewardship of our lands that are the source of clean water, clean air and wildlife habitat.

Background

In 2013, AWA released FOIPed records outlining that some municipalities and hunting/trapping groups in Alberta were paying a “bounty” on wolves, despite the fact that provincial government scientists knew there was no scientific justification for doing so. Funding for some Alberta bounties still comes from the private US-based hunting group, the Wild Sheep Foundation.  In 2013 and 2014, AWA and scientists in the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Wolf/Canid Specialist Group asked Alberta to end its archaic wolf bounties (attached).

Concerns

Bounty programs are run separately by each municipality or bounty program. There is no accountability and no provincial oversight into the origin or amount of killed wolves, the method used to kill, or the harm to unintended species.

Scientific evidence indicates indiscriminate killing of wolves is an ineffective management for livestock depredation. Random wolf kills, which are encouraged by bounties, may actually increase wolf conflicts by splintering packs and increasing breeding pairs. A better approach is provincial and local government support for deterrents to prevent livestock-predator conflicts.

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, such as cougars, eagles, bears and deer.

The problems of wolf snaring and wolf bounty programs in Alberta are a symptom of wildlife mismanagement in the province. A clear and public decision to regain control of wolf management should be made by provincial authorities to reflect the best available science and the public’s regard for wildlife.

Recommendations

AWA respectfully requests that:

  • The ministry commits to a provincial wolf management plan that uses the best available scientific principles to prevent and address real conflicts, and is carried out in an open and transparent manner.
  • All wolf bounties or incentives on public land are immediately halted.
  • The use of snares is made illegal, as they are inhumane and non-selective.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience on the matter of wolf snares and wolf bounties in Alberta.

Sincerely,

ALBERTA WILDERNESS ASSOCIATION

Andrea Johancsik

Conservation Specialist

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