Horrific Raffle Proposed for Largest Wolf Killed
written by Lorin Lindner, PhD, MPH to be submitted to the Vancouver Sun
In a recent article printed in the Vancouver Sun, a contest is being pushed by local gun clubs which rewards contestants who kill the largest wolf – and a booby prize for the smallest wolf killed. The plan to kill the largest of any species is a “final solution”-style proposal that effects a species’ entire ecological and social role. First, there will be adolescent and juvenile individuals in packs left without proper role models – and just as with humans without proper adult supervision – youth are not experienced enough to properly carry the social structure on their backs.
Second, creating a competition of this nature further promotes the myth and misunderstanding that the “big bad wolf” is dangerous and threatening to humans while the facts show that there has been only one recorded incident of a wolf killing a human in North America – and it is unclear as to whether or not that animal was a wolf or a wolfdog.
Third, this wolf “hunt” is a carnival-like free-for-all that teaches children and adolescents to have fun by killing and falsely empowers those with the biggest guns to feel powerful by killing the largest “take” – albeit with the help of high powered rifles with scopes and lasers as well as aircraft, and deadly leghold traps (which has a much larger “incidental take” of other wildlife, birds and companion animals than it does wolves). Clearly, this is no well thought out management plan with sound conservation science behind it but instead is being carried out indiscriminately and run by contestants motivated by a finder’s fee and encouraged to go kill as many wolves as they like without any kind of monitoring or reporting.
Kevin Boon, general manager of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, has been noted as saying: “At what point did the wolf become the prize jewel where we can’t touch it and everything else is to be sacrificed because of it.”
However, the more accurate question is: At what point did cattle become the crown jewel that we can’t allow our natural predators to exist without creating an atmosphere of fear which allows them to be killed without accountability? Clearly the great majority of people would prefer to maintain this natural heritage and do not care to have them slaughtered for a prize.
The idea promoted by photographer John Marriott of Canmore, Alberta to urge a tourism boycott is something that might help discourage this kind of wild, wild west tomfoolery.
The information that these wolves yield is far more valuable in helping understand and resolve issues surrounding their proper management and conservation. The wolf has been persecuted and exploited by people with no knowledge of the effects of their actions on the species. Gun groups and local businesses have no business determining the management of this species. Conservation science should be what leads decisions regarding the long-term security and survival of the wolf – let us not promulgate a second extermination simply due to our fear and grandiosity.