Canada: Alberta kills over 900 wolves…

… while further destroying endangered woodland caribou habitat.

As the Canadian based Organizations Wild Canada Conservation Alliance and claimed last week, for the past two years the Government of Alberta killed hundreds of wolves  as a central effort to “recover” endangered caribou. In their call for action they write the following:

“Due to loss and fragmentation of habitat, increasing numbers of deer and moose are sharing caribou habitat.”
…As if some sinister alien force came to Alberta and began to destroy and fragment caribou habitat ….

“Maintaining caribou population and habitat is a priority”
…Unless, of course, rampant oil, gas, road-building and timber activities are higher priorities …”

These are quotes from the Alberta Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development’s media release on the 10th of January 2015. (see more here)


Alberta has attempted to address the recovery of woodland caribou populations repeatedly over the past 30 years (plans were produced in 1986, 1993, 1996 and 2005). Most of these recommendations were shelved and summarily forgotten. None of the Province’s efforts to date have provided meaningful protection to caribou habitat or populations, and caribou numbers have continued to decline.

Oil, gas, timber, and recreation activities—the core cause of caribou decline—have continued and accelerated over the past 30 years. As a result, in spite of these studies and recommendations, caribou vanish from the landscape as industrial and other activities carry on as though government doesn’t give a damn. And, clearly, it doesn’t.

  • It is illustrative that in adopting the Alberta Woodland Caribou Recovery Plan 2004/05 to 2013/14, the Ministry specifically rejected the Plan’s central recommendation (in Section 7.2) of a “moratorium on further mineral and timber allocations on specific caribou ranges,” thus ignoring the most essential component of caribou recovery.
  • A four-year study led by Samuel Wasser, director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington found in 2011 that the caribou in the area were more threatened by habitat loss because of oil and gas development than they were by wolves.
  • Between 2006 and 2011, the government of Alberta spent more than $1 million poisoning wolves with strychnine and shooting them from the air.
  • Currently there are dozens of current or approved OILSANDS PROJECTS within caribou ranges with many more on the drawing board.
  • “Let’s talk numbers.” To date, more than 900 wolves have been killed by the Province in these programs. More killings are on the way this winter with taxpayer supported “aerial shooting, trapping, and toxicants”

This senseless slaughter must stop and we from European Wilderness Society supports this call.

You can help the wolves and the caribous by telling the Province of Alberta:

  • The senseless, cruel, ineffective and smoke-screen of wolf killing must stop immediately.
  • The Province must suspend leasing and other resource extraction leases and permits in caribou habitat until an effective caribou recovery plan is put in place and resource operators commit to caribou recovery.
  • New regulations must be developed and implemented to ensure current operations do absolute minimal damage to caribou and other wildlife habitat.
  • Linear disturbance in caribou habitat must be minimised. Select access routes must be shared by operators and un-used routes rehabilitated immediately.
  • The Alberta Woodland Caribou Recovery Plan must be implemented in its entirety immediately, with annual progress reports (preferably by an independent professional third party) provided to the people of Alberta.
  • Alberta will never be able to claim it’s oil is not dirty when it is covered in blood.
  • Premier Jim Prentice’s 4th government priority is, “Establishing Alberta as an environmental leader.”  ( Please tell him this is NOT environmental leadership.

Please write:

The Honourable Jim Prentice, Premier
Executive Branch
307 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue
Phone: +1 780 427-2251
Fax: +1 780 427-1349

The Honourable Kyle Fawcett, Minister
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
Main Floor, Great West Life Building
9920 108 Street
Edmonton, AB  T5K 2M4
Phone:  +1 877 944-0313
Fax:  ´+1 780 427-4407

MORE on this issue at:
Provincial Caribou Recovery Plan


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7 thoughts on “Canada: Alberta kills over 900 wolves…

  1. why would you guys even do that , its a fucking disgrace , what did they ever do to you, this is why they going bloody endangered holy shit

  2. Hi,
    Inflammatory is a strong word, but in fact some of us lived in Canada close to 15 years and some even did research in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. So we not only know the country quite well but also the political lobbying system, the current focus on fossil fuels and the lack of environmental concern. As a case in point, please visit the Museum of Technology in Ottawa and see how skewed the exhibits towards fossil fuels are. Nevertheless, time will tell on whether the strategy of exploiting fossil fuels or building on alternative energy form will benefit our children or leave them a burden that they will hate us for.

  3. Hi,
    We strongly believe that it the idea that Nature and Wildlife needs human management is one of the misconceptions of our understanding of our role in the worlds evolution. YOur example of the exploitation of tarsands is such an example. Tarsands are one of the most dangerous methods of obtaining C0″ rich fossil fuels at a time where alternative energy forms are abundant and often even cheaper. We understand that his notion is not appreciated in Alberta simply because so many jobs and welfare hinges on the tarsands, but this wealth is very short term and undermines the chances of the children of the current workforce to live in a world without the immense costs of climate change… Europe is here already one step further not because we are smarter but simply because we suffer from climate change already immensely. The flood prevention costs, the rising of the ocean water levels in coastal regions, the lack of cold winters and the collapse of the ski-industry, the influx of alien species from warmer climate regions into the former colder north and so on, has led us to follow a route using windmills, solar power and hydro power to compensate the reduction in oil and coal firing power plants. In case you follow the european press, read up on the dramatic move of the largest power company shedding itself from all fossil fuel power plants simply because they can not be run anymore in a cost effective manner promising its stakeholder profits.

    It is only a matter of time until this movement will swap to Canada and the US, but you can bet your pension fund that it will. It would therefore be prudent to invest the current profits from the tarsands into financing the next generation power producing technology in Canada. A good example what can happen if this is not done can be seen in the collapse of the steel industry in Pittsburgh and the car industry in Detroit, the heavy industry in Germany in the Ruhrvalley and soon the oil industry in England.

    Obviously this is a discussion of currently opposing views and time will tell which side will win the argument, but we invite you to Europe to take a look on how we already in Germany are replacing ALL of our nuclear power plants and soon fossil power plants with energy won from windmills and other alternative energy sources. Lets talk!

  4. Sehr geehrter Herr Renner,

    selbstverständlich freuen wir uns über jeden Unterstützer für die Erhaltung von Wildnis und Ihren Mitbewohnern. Wir werden Ihre Unterlagen auf Evidenz halten und sofern wir ein Projekt oder Auftrag haben, wo Ihre Kompetenz hilfreich wäre, sie gerne kontaktieren.

    MfG Max A.E. Rossberg, Deputy Chairman

  5. Hallo Frau Pflüger,

    gibt es aktuell bei der EWS auch Möglichkeiten für mich als Biologen zum entgeldlichen mitarbeiten? Ich wäre brennend daran interessiert. Ich bin u.a. Mitglied im bayrischen Monitoringnetzwerk für große Beutegreifer, nehme am Wildkatzenmonitoring teil, aber das ist ja alles ehrennamtlich und ich würde gerne als Biologe hauptberuflich davon leben können. Da ich keine direkten Feldforschungsaktivitäten vorweisen kann (z.b. Telemetriestudien von Wolf, Luchs, Bär) würde ich gerne proaktiv für eine Organisation für die groeßen Beutegreifer tätig werden. Gibt es hier aktuell Optionen? Ich freue mich auf ein Feedback (P.S.: ich lese gerade Ihr aktuelles Buch :-)). Grüße Harald Renner

  6. I support the efforts of the Alberta Wildlife Ministry to Manage gray wolf populations in their province. All wildlife species require management and the wolf population in Alberta is healthy. All steps to limit oil and gas exploration in Alberta should be carefully monitored and where necessary be strictly limited.

  7. What a load of inflammatory and unfactual nonsense. Do you people even live in Alberta?

Please Leave a Comment

Join more 100+ forest experts demanding a radical change in German forestry management.

Sign the Open Letter to the German Federal Minister of Forestry and Agriculture

Open Letter to the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Federal Ministry of
Food and Agriculture
Minister Julia Klöckner
11055 Berlin

Dear Minister Klöckner,

The current situation of the forest in Germany is worrying. It is a forest crisis not only driven by climate change. The current crisis management of the forestry industry is backward-looking and harmful to the forest. The declaration announced at the meeting of ministers in Moritzburg can be described as a `Moritzburg declaration of bankruptcy´. We call on the state forestry industry to, instead of expensive rushed actions, finally carry out an expert analysis of its own work and to involve all stakeholders in this process. What is called for is a consistent departure from plantation forestry and a radical shift towards a management that treats the forest as an ecosystem and no longer as a wood factory.

On 1stAugust 2019, five forestry ministers of CDU and CSU-led states adopted a so-called “master plan” for the forest in Germany, which was affected by heat, bark beetles, fire and drought. As of 2020, the federal government is to make 800 million euros available as a reaction to climate change. This money is to be used to repair the damage caused, reforest the damaged areas and carry out `climate-adapted´ forest conversion – including the use of non-native tree species that have not yet been cultivated in the forest. Research should therefore focus on on tree species suitability and forest plant breeding in the future – keyword: `Climate-adapted forest of the future 2100´.

Remarkably, the damage caused primarily by the extreme drought of 2018 is attributed solely to climate change. Climate change is meeting a forest that is systemically ill due to the planting of non-native tree species, species poverty, monocultures, uniform structure, average low age, mechanical soil compaction, drainage etc. A healthy, resistant forest would look differently! The master plan emphasizes: sustainable, multifunctional and `active´ forest management remains indispensable – and thereby means that its unnatural state cannot be changed. Reference is made to the `carbon storage and substitution effects´ of wood products. The use of wood, e.g. in the construction industry, should be increased and thus the demand for wood should be further fueled – while knowing that the forest in Germany already cannot meet this demand. In fact, forest owners are suffering from poor timber prices due to an oversupply of trunk wood on the world market.

All these demands make clear: the current forestry strategy, which has been practiced for decades, should not change in principle. The concept is simple: cut down trees – plant trees. At best, the `design´ of the future artificial forests consisting of perfectly calculated tree species mixtures, that are believed to survive climate change without damages, can be changed. In all seriousness, the intention is to continue selling the public a so-called `future strategy´ to save the forest. This strategy seamlessly follows the model of a wood factory, that is met with general rejection and must be regarded as a failure in view of the coniferous plantations that are currently collapsing on a large scale. An essential part of the forests that have currently died is exactly the part that was reestablished in 1947 as coniferous monocultures on a much larger area than today. There is only one difference to the situation at the time: considerable amounts of money are to be made available from taxes for forest owners this time.

Climate change is progressing, and this, without a doubt, has massive impacts on all terrestrial ecosystems, including forests. To pretend that the last two years of drought alone caused the disaster is too cheap. On closer inspection, the disaster is also the result of decades of a forestry focused on conifers – in a country that was once naturally dominated by mixed deciduous forests. People do not like to admit that for more than 200 years they have relied on the wrong species of commercial tree (spruce) and have also created artificial, ecologically highly unstable and thus high-risk forest ecosystems. A whole branch of business has become dependent on coniferous wood. And now the German coniferous timber industry is on the verge of bankruptcy.

It would only have been honest and also a sign of political greatness if you and the forestry ministers in Moritzburg had declared: Yes, our forestry industry has made mistakes in the past, and yes, we are ready for a relentless analysis that takes into account not only purely silvicultural, but also forest-ecological aspects. Instead, you have confined yourselves to pre-stamped excuses that are already familiar to everyone and that lack any self-critical reflection.

Clear is: We finally need resting periods for the forest in Germany, which has been exploited for centuries. We need a new, ecologically oriented concept for future forest – not a hectic `forest conversion´, but simply forest development closer towards nature. This gives the forest as an ecosystem the necessary leeway to self-regulate and react to the emerging environmental changes. We need a systemic forest management that is no less profitable than the present one, but must be substantially more stable and resistant to foreseeable environmental changes. The aid for forest owners that all citizens are now required to pay through their taxes is only politically justified in the interest of common good, if the forests of the future that are being promoted by it, do not end up in the next disaster, some of which is produced by the forest management itself.

That is why the signatories request from the the Federal Government, and in particular you, Mrs Klöckner, a master plan worthy of the name:

On disaster areas (mainly in public forests!) reestablishment through natural forest development (ecological succession), among other things with pioneer tree species, is to be brought about. In private forests, ecological succession for reestablishment must be purposefully promoted. Larger bare areas should be planted with a maximum of 400 to 600 large plants of native species per hectare in order to permit ecological succession parallelly.
To promote ecological succession, the areas should no longer be completely and mechanically cleared; as much wood as possible should be left in the stand (to promote optimum soil and germ bed formation, soil moisture storage and natural protection against browsing). In private forests, the abandonment of use in disaster areas should be specifically promoted for ecological reasons and in order to relieve the burden on the timber market.

Regarding the promotion of reestablishment plantings in private forests: priority for native tree species (of regional origin); choose wide planting distances in order to leave enough space for the development of pioneer species. For the forests of the future: Minimize thinning (low-input principle), build up stocks through targeted development towards old thick trees, protect the inner forest climate / promote self-cooling function (should have highest priority due to rapidly progressing climate change!), prohibit heavy machinery, refrain from further road construction and expansion, permit and promote natural self-regulatory development processes in the cultivated forest and on (larger) separate areas in the sense of an compound system; drastically reduce the density of ungulate game (reform of hunting laws).

Like in the field of organic agriculture, which has been established since the 1980s, the crisis of our forests should be the reason today to transform at least two existing forestry-related universities. They should be turned into universities for interdisciplinary forest ecosystem management. This is a contribution not only to the further development of forestry science and silviculture in Germany, but also of global importance! The goal must be to produce wood through largely natural forest production and to start with it here in Germany, the birthplace of forestry.


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