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Nature News
by Marlene Harris


Winter 2003   —   Proposed Predator Kill in B.C.

As reported by the Defenders of Wildlife, Government officials in British Columbia are recommending the "culling" or killing of dozens of wolves and cougars over the course of the next three years. Authorities claim that wolves and cougars are to be blamed for declining populations of local black tail deer. However, a major factor behind the decrease in deer numbers is the loss of old growth forest, which is important habitat for black tail deer. In fact, 75 percent of the islandís productive ancient forests have been logged.

Please take action immediately and send an e-mail to Joyce Murray, Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection at joyce.murray.mla@leg.bc.ca. Urge officials not to move forward with the unnecessary culling of wolves and cougars on Vancouver Island and insist that alternative solutions to the wolf and cougar cull must be pursued in the Ministry's deer recovery program. Please include in your letter your residential status if you live in Canada or the Pacific Northwest.

Relevant points: The ministry claims the cull is necessary for black tail deer recovery on the island, because the number of deer has fallen from 200,000 in 1980 to 55,000 in 2001. But, as prey has decreased, so have their predators. Wolf numbers have fallen from around 400 in 1986 to less than 200 in 2001 and cougar numbers have dropped from around 750 in 1995 to around 350 in 2001.

A major factor behind the decrease in deer numbers is the loss of old growth forest, which is important habitat for black tail deer. Of 91 primary watersheds on the island more than 5000 hectares in size, only 6 are left intact; 75 per cent of the Islandís productive ancient forests have been logged. Not one watershed on eastern Vancouver Island remains intact or is protected.


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