Multiple Vancouver Island municipal councils voted to support a resolution that would ban wolf hunting on Vancouver Island while a science and consultation based study of wolves is undertaken.
Metchosin, Highlands, View Royal and Colwood voted to endorse the motion written by the District of Oak Bay to be submitted at the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities (AVICC) May meeting.
Copies of the resolution were shared with the municipalities in hopes that they will write letters of support to send with the resolution. Sooke Mayor Maja Tait has already written a letter of support after wolves were killed in her community.
The resolution argues that the current free-for-all recreational wolf hunting policy needs to be re-examined for “ethical and scientific reasons.”
There is a limit of three wolves per season per hunter, but there is no limit on trapping.
The letter read “we are concerned for the survival of the subspecies of Grey Wolf that live on Vancouver Island. In British Columbia wolves are killed by legal recreational hunting and trapping – the largest source of mortality for wolves. In many cases in BC, there is no limit to the number of wolves that can be killed daily. Wolves play an important ecological role as apex predators.”
Parksville is another community that has signed on.
“This brings to mind the rather tragic death of the lone wolf, Takaya, last year,” said Parksville Coun. Marilyn Wilson. “He was actually shot by a hunter about two months after being relocated… I just think that it would be very nice to send support along for this. I believe in this and I think this is a good organization.”
The Oak Bay resolution was developed after the famous Discovery Island wolf, named Takaya by the Songhees First Nation, was killed, legally, after he had been relocated to the western side of the Island. Takaya was beloved by those who followed his life on the small cluster of islands off the shores of Victoria, and his death was a blow. This resolution is one response.
What’s concerning, the Oak Bay resolution says, is the lack of data on how many wolves are actually on Vancouver Island, and what the impacts of hunting are.
It’s known that wolves play an important ecological role as an apex predator. Healthy wolf populations contribute to biodiversity and keep other animals, like deer, in check. They have also been known to prey on pets and livestock.
Metchosin Mayor John Ranns said wolves have never been a problem in Metchosin, despite having a notable number of sheep farms. The caveat he added is that if wolves were to adapt nuisance behaviour like bears have, action would need to be taken.
“They’ve been leaving us alone for decades, so I don’t anticipate any wolves will acquire that behaviour,” Ranns said.
“Nobody wants to see the wolves killed. Like Russ Chipps [the Beecher Bay chief] says, ‘If you don’t eat it you don’t need it.’”
— with a file from Mandy Moraes
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.