Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wolf Kill Draws Wrath of Albertans.

The recent top stories in the Edmonton Journal media on the proposed wolf kill and sterilization have been particularly interesting to me. The Oil Sands Survey done last November indicated that Albertans were mostly concerned about wildlife habitat and GHG emissions and the key issues around the responsible and sustainable oil sands development. The other top issues related to water use and reclamation issues.

The announcement of a cull of the wolf population and sterilization as a government supported university “study” has been front page news. It has also caused a barrage of Letters to the Editor deploring this interference with nature.

None of this surprises me given how strong and intensely Albertans feel about preserving wildlife habitat. It is a below the surface issue for most policy makers and advisers but Albertans heads and hearts are with the animals.

The sentiments in those Letters to the Editor are strong and firm. Comments include concerns that “(we)…should be monitoring the natural cycles that exist between predator and prey without callously interfering in order to please a small sector of the human population. The project has been called “unethical” by other letter writers. The government is being called to task for “sanctioning a grizzly bear hunt even while the numbers of bears plummeted every year.” Another noted, “I read the article on the wolf kill with dismay and disgust. How self-serving! Mankind has caused tremendous upset to the balance of climate as well as animal and plant species.”

The times are a changin’ and this concern for wildlife and respecting their habitat is now a dominant value for Albertans and on the front burner politically. The key question is if anyone in the provincial power structure know the depth of that concern yet and do they get it enough to do something about kt? The politicians cannot ignore this new value set without bringing on the wrath of Albertans down on their heads.


  1. Interesting post, Ken. Though I have to say I was surprised by the outrage in so many of the letters. Could it be that Albertans are moving towards a less anthropocentric view of nature?

    My guess is that while stories like this are encouraging, if these values were help up against more obviously economic interests (rather than what's perceived as the sole benefit of hunters) the deeper ecological/ecocentric values would dissipate. Did you find that in your Oilsands Survey? I know you used that complex methodology in your instrument to ascertain answers to just these types of questions...

    Either way, as far as counting on the government to reverse their decision, I wouldn't hold my breath. The mounted game trophy that hangs (or at least used to hang) on the wall of SRD Minister Ted Morton's U of C office suggests he's a pretty fierce ally for recreational hunters.

  2. Anonymous4:18 pm

    As I recall, the last time we heard that the wrath of Albertans was coming down on the heads of government, the PCs won 73 seats...this must be part of the plan that's working for Albertans.