British Columbia

Miley Cyrus invited to B.C. to visit caribou herd threatened by wolves

A B.C. MLA is inviting Miley Cyrus back to the province to visit the region where the wolf cull takes place, so the American pop star can see first-hand how it's connected to B.C.'s effort to save endangered mountain caribou.

B.C. MLA hopes Cyrus will visit Kootenays and better understand complexity of wolf cull decision

Singer Miley Cyrus recently visited B.C.'s West Coast and called for an end to the province's controversial wolf cull. Now a member of the legislature wants her to visit the region where the cull takes place to better understand the situation. (Reuters/CBC)

A B.C. MLA is inviting Miley Cyrus back to the province to visit the region where the wolf cull takes place, so the American pop star can see first-hand how it's connected to  B.C.'s effort to save endangered mountain caribou.

"I'm hoping to engage her on an issue she's passionate about so we can work together to find a response to save both the caribou and the wolves," said  Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall, who tweeted the invite to Cyrus on Thursday.

Cyrus came to B.C. last month to rail against the controversial wolf kill, only to land on the central coast — thousands of kilometres and several mountain ranges away from where wolves are being shot.

She then shared her views on social media, 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.

Complex problem, controversial cull

Mungall said Cyrus needs to learn more about the complexity of the problem.

"No one I represent wants to see a wolf cull and no one wants the mountain caribou to go extinct," she wrote Cyrus in a letter.

"Yet we find ourselves with these two species linked by nature but presently at odds because of human activity, leaving us with difficult choices."

Mungall said she reluctantly supports the wolf cull, if only to help save the last remaining mountain caribou that range into the continental U.S.

Four of seven mountain caribou herds in the northern Rocky Mountains are on the verge of eliminationwith just 70 animals among them. 

In Mungall's riding, there are fewer than 20 caribou in South Selkirk, and some biologists say wolves threaten to wipe them out altogether.

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 have vigorously condemned the wolf killings, saying the evidence suggests such culls are ineffective and cruel. 

"It's a scientifically flawed policy," Wildlife Defence League spokesman Tommy Knowles told CBC News in February. 

"Killing one species to save another flies in the face of conservation and fails to acknowledge the true reason behind the declining caribou."

With files from Bob Keating


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