Twerking for Wolves

by JDAC Mountie on September 25, 2015 - 10:56pm

Miley Cyrus, of Wrecking Ball fame, is swinging into the conservation arena with a battle cry and 28.8 million Instagrammers. The conservation organization Pacific Wild welcomed the popstar to B.C. recently to garner support for their #saveBCwolves campaign, which is advocating against a controversial program.

Last year the B.C. government imposed a wolf culling initiative in the South Selkirk Mountain region. The program, which is to last for five years and take hundreds of wolves, is overseen by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and has been implemented to stabilize the dramatically declining populations of certain caribou herds. Unlike the caribou, First Nation communities are reporting an overabundance of the carnivores in the area. This unbalance, combined with shrinking habitat, has lead wolves to prey on caribou more than they have historically, in addition to staple food sources for the Native communities.

Cyrus is promoting a petition to stop the culling altogether. B.C. Premier, Christy Clark, immediately rebuffed Cyrus's crusade and reiterated the importance of the cull. Clark stated,"I want to make sure that Miley knows that I'm willing to sit down and 'twerk' it out," (CTV News 2015) and commented on Cyrus's overall lack of clothing. These kinds of backhanded comments did nothing but damage the state's image and weaken the power of the provincial government to gain public support of the cull. The behavioral conflict that resulted from the comments dug a deeper trench between the state and its citizens. Even my 4 year old cousin knows not to insult someone before you ask to play in their sandbox.

Cyrus's professional opinion aside, she is bringing to light the management problems that the B.C. government has been tucking under the rug while bringing everyone's attention to the lovely new pipeline out the window. Scientists agree this plan might not work. The "too little, too late" trap has a secure hold on this issue. The uncertainty of this situation has led to a quagmire of legality, jurisdictional disputes and science that has yet to be able to focus on the fundamental problem: habitat destruction. While everyone agrees the survival of the caribou herds rely on immediate action, each stakeholder sees a different solution.

Value conflict is a big factor here. Biologists say that the government is putting too much value on caribou herds that have already effectively died out. Government officials counter, saying that a balanced ecosystem (and the threat of localized species extinction leaving an ugly stain on their record) is paramount and they have been doing a fine job of it, thank you very much. Conservation officials respectfully point out that this is actually all the government’s fault in the first place. The Canadian government put more value in the economic feedback that resulted from the expansion of oil and forestry in the region then the lives of the wildlife that inhabit there. This is evidenced by the fact that the government is simply reinstating a management technique from the ‘80s, in which hundreds of wolves were killed, instead of re-examining the problem. The problem is the government’s mismanagement of one its natural resources in favour of something with greater economic value. The government is guilty of implementing short term management practices instead of creating management techniques in conjunction with expanding industries in B.C.

Is culling pleasant? No. Is it sometimes necessary? Yes. Although habitat protection is key in this debate, the reality is that expanding caribou habitat will not have the immediate effect needed to stabilize the population of the herds. The government is now between the proverbial rock and a hard place when it comes to Inland caribou and the wolves will pay the price.

 

Photo by Pacific Wild

"B.C. Premier Mocks Wardrobes of Pam Anderson, Miley Cyrus after Wolf-cull Criticism." CTVNews. September 19, 2015. Accessed September 20, 2015. http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/b-c-premier-mocks-wardrobes-of-pam-anderson-miley-cyrus-after-wolf-cull-criticism-1.2571210.   

Meissner, Dirk. "B.C. Says Increasing Wolf Cull Is The Best Plan To Save Caribou." The Huffington Post. September 20, 2015. Accessed September 20, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/09/20/b-c-to-increase-wolf-cull-says-it-s-the-best-plan-to-save-endangered-caribou_n_8164912.html.  

News, CBC. "B.C. Wolf Cull Leads to 'removal' of 84 Wolves - British Columbia - CBC News." CBCnews. April 17, 2015. Accessed September 20, 2015. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-wolf-cull-leads-to-removal-of-84-wolves-1.3037023.

Comments

The title of this article caught my eye and made me laugh, therefore making me curious as to what it was about. The first little paragraph is a great opener, engaging my imagination and keeping hold of my attention.
I believe that having celebrities mentioning certain problems is a good thing because it helps the issue by becoming publicized and gaining more awareness. The public might not hold the same opinion as the celebrity, but it causes them to think about it and possibly do more research on that topic.
To further your discussion you can talk about the similarities between the caribou and the cod-fishing industry. This is that the government puts more value on the economic perspective of issues (obviously not all of them) than the environmental perspective. In reality they go hand-in-hand, in other words once the environment declines, the economy will not be able to survive (no fish means no jobs, which means no production or money). We made the mistake before, thinking that the environmental resource will replenish itself, and the government may be trying to prevent that from happening with the caribou.

Great reflection post!

Not only was your post very entertaining, I found the material very fascinating as well. With Miley Cyrus campaigning against the wolf culling in BC, it becomes an Internet sensation and a global message to everyone around the world. This form of advertisement shines light on what I believe to be a horrible practice that is still occurring in our world today.
The wolf culling practice is such a paradox, as the thought of killing one species to protect and conserve another seems absurd. The idea that the BC government imposed this practice is hard to believe as BC has always struck me as a province so in touch with nature and their pretentious habitats.
I strongly believe that regardless of Christy Clark rebuffing Miley Cyrus’s petition campaign, the fact that Miley Cyrus is a pop sensation known all around the world (28.8 million instagram followers alone) is enough to make some question the initiative and allow more people to get involved in the debate. I find it very irresponsible and senseless of the BC Premier to make rude comments to Cyrus, considering the power she has.
I understand your closing statement, however I don’t find the wolf cull to be ethical by any means and therefore I find it rather disgusting it is an ongoing issue. The value conflict makes the practice hard to justify, as the amount of uncertainty and differing views is vast. I think a more appropriate management technique could and should be established for the caribou.

Overall, your post was very well written and I really enjoyed reading it.

1. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, as it was both captivating and informative. I found it surprising to hear that the B.C government is even considering using tactics from back in the 80s. As many people in the geography sector know, the attempt of control and command technique used with wolves in the past was an utter disaster. Perhaps you could have contributed more information about this time in history, so readers can fully understand the dilemma of this problem. It was interesting to read about celebrity involvement in environmental issues.
As seen in your post, celebrities have a way of educating the millions of fans/followers they have. In this case, Miley Cyrus’s act was successful, as it brought media attention to the issue and made the government reevaluate their plans. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If celebrities are misinformed, this could have dire consequences. An example of this can be seen with Ellen Degeneres and the seal hunt in Northern Canada. The talk show host in cooperation with the Humane Society of the U.S decided to go public about the seal hunt. It was advertised as inhumane and barbaric, when in fact many communities in the North hunt seals in a humane way. Check out the article I posted below about #sealfies below for more information!

http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2014/03/sealfie-northerners-re...