Quirks & Quarks

Can Wolf Cull Save Alberta Caribou?

A scheme to kill wolves to protect endangered woodland caribou is insufficient to help the caribou recover.
Woodland Caribou (copyright LakeAthapap, cc-by-sa-3.0)
Woodland caribou are in decline across Canada, but one particular population in north-west Alberta has been especially hard hit. The Little Smoky herd is down to less than 100 animals, due in large part to predation on females and calves by a large wolf population. The dense and remote forests that once protected caribou were opened up to wolves by roads and various forestry operations. As a result, a wolf cull was introduced in 2005.  But a new study by Dr. Stan Boutin, a Professor of Biological Sciences at The University of Alberta in Edmonton, has found that the cull has only stabilized - not grown - the caribou population there. Longer-term solutions, such as regenerating and reclaiming forests and providing protected areas, need to to be considered.

Related Links

- Paper in the Canadian Journal of Zoology
- CP/CBC News article
- Edmonton Journal article