B.C.'s declining mountain caribou population needs help, but a controversial recommendation to kill off its predators has environmentalists' heads spinning.
Mountain caribou populations in B.C.'s interior wet-forest belt have declined by 50 per cent over the last 10 years, prompting the provincial Conservation Data Centre to add the species to its endangered red-list. There are currently 18 subpopulations of mountain caribou, many of which are herds with less than 75 animals.
An team of mountain caribou experts recently produced a report identifying recovery options for the species, including further protection of caribou habitat from logging, cutting back on recreational activities (snowmobiling, heli-skiing, backcountry-skiing and resorts), and moving caribou from smaller herds to larger herds.
The report also suggests killing known mountain caribou predators - black bears, cougars and wolves and their more typical prey, moose and deer - in caribou-inhabited regions, a suggestion that isn't sitting well with local environmentalists.
"The way to deal with predators is to stop blaming them, and instead restrict the logging of low elevation caribou habitat. As clear-cuts decrease, so will the deer, moose and their predators," says Andy Miller, Western Canada Wilderness Committee wildlife biologist, adding the predators are simply following their natural prey to as they move into cleared areas.
Only man must be predator! All other predators will be crushed!