Culling predators tilts ecosystem

NANAIMO – During the 1970s, a plan was implemented to pay ranchers up to $500 for each animal killed by predators.

To the Editor,

During the 1970s, a plan was implemented to pay ranchers up to $500 for each animal killed by predators.

The ranchers brought in the nose so the game warden could estimate the animal’s age, and a cheque was issued.

After 10 years, taxpayers were paying ranchers about $50,000, representing about 400 cow and sheep carcasses.

In the 10th year of the program, game wardens were told to investigate each kill. They found only three animals in B.C. had been killed by predators. Most of them had tangled in barbed wire and been chewed on afterwards by vultures.

Although it worked better than culling to reduce predation, and was cheaper, the program was discontinued.

Culling predators causes increased die-offs as ungulates overeat their habitat and/or increases disease in ungulates.

The wolf that eats an occasional sheep also eats thousands of mice, rats and others that compete with ungulates for habitat.

Jim Erkiletian

Nanaimo

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