The B.C. government has extended its controversial wolf cull program for another five years, despite opposition from many scientists and the public.
The extension of the aerial wolf reduction program, which impacts 12 of the province's 54 herds and is meant to help threatened caribou populations recover across the province, was confirmed to Glacier Media by a spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Thursday afternoon.
"The science indicates that reducing wolf densities in caribou areas is one of few short-term options that will effectively reduce declining caribou populations to prevent their extirpation," wrote the ministry spokesperson.
"Having already lost multiple herds in the Southern Group, these measures allow us to prevent further losses."
The extension of the wolf cull, which had been up for renewal in 2020, was delayed for two years at the province's request.
Reaction from environmental groups was swift.
"That is not five years being the limit. It's likely that this is going to be decades," said Laurie McConnell, a wolf campaigner with the environmental advocacy group Pacific Wild.
McConnell said she first heard the government would extend the cull hours before in a meeting with several stakeholders, including First Nations, industry representatives and recreational groups.
According to the Ministry of Forests, nearly 1,500 wolves have been killed since the start of 2015, when the program aimed to save B.C.'s woodland caribou began.
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