GNWT approved a wolf cull plan this past Friday that includes using satellite collars and shooting from aircraft to decrease wolf populations by 80 per cent.
The plan would target wolves preying on the Bluenose-East and Bathurst caribou herds.
The decision was made by the Wek’èezhìı Renewable Resources Board on Friday, allowing the proposed program to take effect for 1 year as a pilot project.
The proposed plan takes hold in the event of hunters in the region failing to meet the annual wolf kills target by March. Using satellite collars to locate, and kill whole packs with the exception of the collared wolf in the hopes of it leading to other packs later on.
In their joint proposal, the Tłı̨chǫ and N.W.T. governments stated “It is unlikely that ground-based harvesting on the winter range, even by harvesters from both the North Slave Region and Nunavut, can reduce wolf numbers to the level needed to increase survival rates in caribou,”
In a CBC interview NWT Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Shane Thompson said “We looked at every option available and if we don’t do nothing and just do status quo, we’ll just continue seeing the decline of our populations,”
Adding “So we’re down to two per cent of the population and we have to make some hard decisions.”
This follows the success of a similar project in BC, where a 5-year program used satellite collars to locate wolves and shoot them from helicopters. The program was reported to significantly curb the declining mountain caribou herd numbers