No, they aren’t competing for food (obviously). And starving isn’t the only problem the caribou face. Their habitat is being destroyed. That includes problems with their food source, but also causes other problems leading to population decline.
So the caribou habitat is being destroyed by mining oil from tar sands. What is Canada’s solution? Eradicate the wolves! They have already done some of this, they say they have poisoned or shot about 500 over the past five year. Now they are talking about killing 6 thousand more over the next 5 years, by strychnine poisoning and aerial shooting.
It is worth mentioning that strychnine poisoning cannot be targeted to the wolves, affects many kinds of animals, and is an excruciating way to die. As horrible as that is, I’m trying to stay on topic here, so I’ll leave it at that.
I have two big points to get across in this post:
How do they justify killing off one kind of animal to save another kind of animal?
Is anyone stupid enough to believe that killing the predators is going to help when the problem is loss of habitat?
Rose, a writing colleague, had this to say about it (my bold):
Obviously, no one has come right out and asked them, I suppose, but even if someone did, I’m certain they wouldn’t be able to come up with even one single valid explanation, because there is none. This is a totally irrational action. It cannot even be called a “response” to an issue because it is a non-response. What they’re doing is as irrelevant as, say, a house being on fire and deciding that the way to put out the fire would be to go car shopping. One thing has absolutely nothing to do with the other.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Rose has a miraculous way of putting the thought I only wish I could express into meaningful words.
The first thing that hit me when I read about this was the question of how it could possibly be OK to kill the wolves to save the caribou. What makes one more deserving of life than the other? I have seen no explanation for this. In fact, no mention of it.
In the U.S. wolf slaughters are being proposed to artificially boost elk populations. But, no one is pretending that it is for the elk’s benefit or that they give a shit about the elk.
It is openly for the benefit of hunters, which really boils down to those who profit from the hunting tourism industry (not people who hunt locally to feed their families). That is clearly stated, and as much as it disgusts me, I don’t have to ask why.
With this Canadian thing, they don’t say why. They give no reason for valuing caribou above wolves.
The second thing that hit me is Who the Hell is that stupid? The caribou are dying from habitat loss. Killing off wolves won’t help. Do they actually think they can fool people into thinking they are doing something about the problem this way? If it’s really not OK for the caribou to die, then they have to stop destroying their habitat. Period.
They have two choices. Either stop destroying caribou habitat or admit that the oil is more important to them than the caribou.