Kootenay-based conservation group Wildsight is backing a controversial wolf cull in the South Selkirk Mountains that would kill two dozen wolves.

The cull is part of a larger plan by provincial biologists to kill up to 184 wolves in the South Selkirk Mountains and South Peace region of B.C. to protect endangered mountain caribou herds.

"We certainly agree with the other conservation groups having a great distaste for a cull of wolves," conservation director John Bergenske told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"However, we've run into a situation with mountain caribou in specific places."

He said in the South Selkirks the population has dropped to only 18 caribou down from 49 animals in 2009.

Other conservation groups have criticized the cull saying loss of habitat is at the root of the caribou's decline — and the government needs to protect land rather than kill the wolves.

Bergenske agreed, but said the situation for caribou in the South Selkirks has become so dire, the cull is needed.

"Until such time that there's been habitat recovery, if we don't do something to control wolf numbers, unfortunately we will lose mountain caribou."

Bergenske wants to see more enforcement for recreational users to protect caribou habitat.

"The only way a wolf cull is effective is if other actions are taking place," he said.

To hear the full interview with John Bergenske, click the audio labelled: Wildsight supports wolf cull.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Wildsight backed the wolf cull in both the South Selkirk and South Peace regions. In fact the group has only endorsed the cull in the South Selkirk Mountains.
    Jan 29, 2015 7:39 AM PT