A new two-pronged provincial strategy for reducing wolf populations was released today.
In most areas, “sustainable hunting and trapping opportunities” will involve specified seasons and bag limits, while “detailed implementation plans” will be developed to help ranchers deal with predation of livestock and caribou.
“The plan indicates wolf populations are likely stable or increasing throughout the province and are not considered an ‘at-risk’ species,” Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations spokesman Greig Bethel said in a press release.
The current wolf population estimate is about 8,500, which is similar to an earlier estimate of 8,100 in 1991, says the release. The last wolf management plan was prepared in 1979.
The general intention of the plan has been under intense criticism by wolf protection groups who dispute the role of wolves in livestock and wildlife predations.
The Raincoast Conservation Foundation called it “a deeply flawed plan with scientifically unsound and uninformed objectives.”
Today’s statement from the ministry says, “The results of the consultation confirm there are strongly differing beliefs and values on the management of wolf populations and re-affirmed the importance that government make balanced decisions on the basis of sound science.”
It continues, “The wolf management plan, like other species management plans, summarizes the best available scientific information on the biology and threats to the species and informs the development of a management framework.
“It sets goals and objectives, and recommends approaches appropriate for species or ecosystem conservation.”