The Northwest Territories government has been authorized to proceed immediately with a plan that includes using satellite collars and shooting from aircraft to cut wolf populations by up to 80 per cent.

The plan targets wolves that prey on the Bathurst and Bluenose East barren-ground caribou herds, both of which have been in steep decline.

In a decision announced Friday, the Wek'èezhìı Renewable Resources Board said it would allow the proposed wolf management program to proceed as a one-year pilot project while a longer-term plan is reviewed more closely. The program was jointly proposed by the territorial and Tłı̨chǫ governments at the end of January.

The resources board criticized the two governments for submitting the plan so late that a proper review would leave no time to reduce wolf populations this winter. Having it proceed as a pilot will allow action to be taken this winter without the need for public hearings or to answer questions about the plan.

Under the proposed plan, if hunters fail to meet annual targets for wolf kills by March, those targets will be met by shooting wolves from aircraft, using satellite collars to locate packs. All members of the pack will be killed — apart from the collared one, in the hopes of it later leading to another pack.

The government plans to put satellite collars on 30 wolves this year.

In their joint proposal, the Tłı̨chǫ and N.W.T. governments say shooting wolves from aircraft will almost certainly be required to meet reduction targets.

"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," it reads.

The territory's minister of Environment and Natural Resources referred questions about the public perception of aerial hunting using satellite tracking collars to the department, saying it is a technical issue.

Responses to "The Northwest Territorie's government aims to shoot wolves from aircraft"

  1. ernie says:

    over harvesting by indigenous peoples have caused this decrease in the caribou. Stop the hunt for a few years to let the caribou recover at a natural pace instead of trying to give them farm type lifestyles. Hunting by snowmobile has thinned the population to almost extinction and greed has been the cause. Don't blame wolves for mans greed. Stop hunting the caribou.


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