RE: Proposed wolf cull (The Daily News, Oct. 10).
Having been a Daily News reader for many years and an admirer of Mel Rothenberger’s views, I write this with some hesitation. A friend years ago advised me never to argue publicly with a man who buys his ink by the barrel. But here goes.
Mel (if I may, for brevity’s sake) argues that wolves have been “persecuted” in B.C. for years, a statement which is hardly deserving of the term “argument.”
Similarly, he argues that reducing animals to what’s “harvestable” only benefits the sport hunter and interferes in “the natural balance of animal populations.”
Barely a bias showing! These comments are reminiscent of the old Mel, who was then in his “sugar is the white death” stage, and members of the Kamloops fishing and wildlife community held what he called their annual wild meat celebration. The bias against hunters dripped from his every word, and I am saddened to learn it is still there.
As a former officer of the International Wildlife Preservation Association, Mel should know that what is occurring in our wildlife populations is not a “balance of nature,” it is a decided imbalance.
He states that interfering in that balance is unsustainable and ignores the fact that we have already interfered with disastrous effect, without even trying!
It is even a highly moot point that such a thing as this famed balance ever existed, but it certainly has not existed ever since we began mining our forests.
What we are seeing in our drastically declining moose and caribou populations is not a balance of any kind, but a direct product of our deliberate and reckless ignorance of any supposed balance by massively and obscenely clearcutting our forests and neglecting vital reforestation and habitat regeneration.
B.C.’s expenditures on wildlife management are embarrassingly inadequate and they do not even amount to the total money collected in licences and fees.
The autumn issue of B.C Outdoors Magazine details the decline in moose and caribou populations in our province, using data researched by Kamloops’s own Doug Jury, a retired conservation officer.
The major causes of the decline identified by Mr. Jury are habitat loss and degeneration, easier predation by wolves, and consequent vast increases in wolf populations. Not mentioned there but also playing a part is the infestation of brain worms in elk and moose, carried in the feces of invading white-tailed deer.
Together, these are major factors impacting our wildlife.
And when the moose and deer are reduced, what will the wolves eat? Sheep, cattle and other easy prey, of course.
And Mel calls this a balance?
Wolves are a beautiful part of nature, almost mythic in our consciousness and we have been reluctant to recognize that we have ignorantly and neglectfully tilted the playing field in their favour.
If we allow grizzlies posing no danger to human life to be shot for trophy’s sake, we should allow predatory wolves to be shot for the sake of deer, elk, caribou and cattle.
It is time to discard the romantic idealization of the wolf and accept the responsibility for proper wildlife management.