Pop star Miley Cyrus has spoken out against British Columbia's controversial wolf cull, asking her Instagram followers to sign a petition to stop the killings.
Figures for 2015 released by the province indicate 84 wolves were killed between Jan. 15 and April, the first year of a five-year plan to cull wolves, which were shot from helicopters. The cull is part of B.C.'s effort to save endangered mountain caribou.
In the northern Rocky Mountains, four of seven mountain caribou herds are on the verge of elimination, with just 70 animals among them. While habitat loss and human encroachment are the main causes of the decline of the caribou, predation by wolves is hampering the endangered species' recovery, officials say.
Critics such as Cyrus say there is little evidence to back up the theory that wolves are a problem.
"I am shameless when it comes to making changes in a world that at times needs to re-evaluate its morals when dealing with kindness and compassion towards animals, humanity, and the environment," Cyrus wrote on Instagram. "We can't let another winter pass us by without stopping this mass extermination!"
She directed her followers to a petition launched by advocacy group Pacific Wild, which as of noon PT on Wednesday had just shy of its goal of 200,000 signatures.
The group's executive director, Ian McAllister, said he expects the petition to surpass its goal after Cyrus's post yesterday, and that his organization has been flooded with queries.
"The main sentiment we're hearing, not just from Miley Cyrus but from many people, is that they are outraged that the B.C. government is spending millions of dollars on this extremely cruel and unfounded — both scientifically and certainly ethically — wolf cull program," McAllister said.
Pacific Wild also reached out to Cyrus to thank her, saying her social media post has generated unprecedented traffic to its website.