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Conservationists criticize Quebec plan to protect caribou by killing wolves

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. The Quebec government's caribou management plan to potentially shoot wolves that get too close to an endangered woodland caribou herd is drawing criticism from environmentalists. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images

MONTREAL — A Quebec government plan that involves shooting wolves if they get too close to an endangered caribou herd is drawing criticism from environmentalists.

Trained shooters would be sent by helicopter if a wolf is found to be threatening the Charlevoix herd, whose numbers have declined to about 30 animals.

Rachel Plotkin of the David Suzuki Foundation says the measure is a band-aid measure that ignores the bigger problem of habitat loss and disturbance.

She says the real solution would be to protect the old-growth forests that caribou need in order to feed and to avoid predators.

A spokesman for the provincial wildlife department says it may be necessary to kill predators as a temporary measure while the government works on bigger issues of habitat protection.

He says no wolves have yet been killed, and the measure will be used as a last resort if a member of the pack directly threatens one of the animals in the herd.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec 11, 2019

The Canadian Press