Some culls have been in progress since 2013; others starting soon
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
A number of animal culls are occurring throughout BC, catching the attention of animal rights groups such as the BCSPCA. The culls involve several species of animals being hunted, including wolves, cougars, and deer.
The wolf cull began in January, with the intent of protecting endangered caribou in the Selkirk Mountains and South Peace areas of BC. The specific group of caribou has reportedly dwindled in numbers over the past five years, with CBC writing that biologists claim wolf attacks are the reason for the decline.
There are concerns the caribou herd will be extinct within “three to five years,” according to Tom Ethier, assistant deputy minister for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources, in an interview with CBC.
Over 180 wolves are planned to be shot and killed from helicopters over the course of the cull, which is expected to last five years.
A separate cull is currently in place regarding cougars and more wolves, also in the South Peace region.
The cougar and wolf cull has been taken on by cattle ranchers in the area. According to CBC, the ranchers were paid $266,000 in order to execute the animals, which has been ongoing since 2013.
Reportedly on February 20, over 400 “predator” animals have been killed as a result of the cull. The goal has been to protect livestock belonging to ranchers in the area, and has been labeled the “Livestock Protection Pilot Program.”
CBC reported the wolves being hunted in the rancher-headed cull are separate from the caribou-protecting cull.
A third cull has been planned for Oak Bay, Victoria since 2013, in which the numbers of deer are reportedly high. Up to 25 deer are planned to be killed as part of the cull, which CBC reports will end on March 15. Unlike the predator culls, the deer cull is in part an attempt to lower the amount of accidental deer deaths that occur each year in the city of Oak Bay.
While the culls have been dubbed “necessary” in order to protect other species of animals, many have protested over concerns for animal cruelty in regards to those being hunted.
The deer cull specifically has met with vocal protest from the BCSPCA. Sara Dubois, chief scientific officer of the BCSCPA, told CBC, “We don’t think the cull is going to work to reduce deer conflict in Oak Bay because the deer population is transient and moves in Saanich and Victoria.”
Amongst other reasons, the BCSPCA found the suggestion of letting the deer die slowly upon an unsuccessful death via gunshot to be unnecessarily cruel.