Return of Wolves to the Beaver Hills/Elk Island Area Should be Celebrated, Not Condemned

EDMONTON – The presence of wolves in the Beaver Hills/Elk Island area just east of Edmonton is a cause for celebration, not condemnation, says the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s (CPAWS) Northern Alberta chapter. The statement is in response to recent media stories highlighting the impact the wolves are having on cattle grazing in the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area.  Reports are that over two dozen cattle went missing or have been killed by wolves in the area over this past summer, and that parks and government officials have given the Blackfoot Grazing Association permission to cull 6 members of the wolf pack in response.

“While culling may seem to address an immediate problem, it is neither a sustainable nor desirable long-term management method,” says Alison Ronson, Executive Director of CPAWS Northern Alberta. “The return of wolves to the area should be celebrated as an indicator of the health and success of protected natural areas in the region, and efforts should be made to seek a solution that does not involve the elimination of these animals.”

CPAWS Northern Alberta is also concerned that the general public and interested groups have not been consulted over the issues posed by the return of the wolves. This is a matter not only for the affected ranchers and government officials, but also for conservation organizations, naturalists, recreational groups, and local residents. These groups should be given the opportunity to voice their opinions on how the wolves should be managed.

CPAWS Northern Alberta encourages the province to engage the wider general public on the issue of how to sustainably and humanely manage the wolf pack within the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area.

For more information, contact CPAWS Northern Alberta at 780-424-5128 ext. 309 or at [email protected].