Wolves are the caribou’s principal predator in British Columbia, and high wolf numbers are associated with declining caribou populations.
Managing wolf populations and other caribou recovery actions is challenging. Both animals are part of a complex ecological and now human-influenced relationship. Wolf packs are dependent on their prey (moose, caribou, deer). Prey populations are affected by forest practices and other human activities that affect their habitat. When resource development and recreation open up new roads, wolves use them for easy access to wintering caribou herds.
Decisions on predator control must be approached with care, and with abundant and clear information to the public on how they were made. It is important to note that wolf control is never carried out in isolation as a single solution.
As the Caribou Recovery Program planning continues, we will record approaches and policies currently used in B.C. and outside the province. B.C. is currently in year four of a five-year pilot project focusing on wolf removal around the South Selkirks and South Peace herds. Building on this knowledge, we can draft new provincial policy with a focus on multi-region predator plans, clear decision-making steps, and transparent communications.