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  • What really killed Takaya?


    Reflections on Takaya’s legacy on the one-year anniversary of his death.

     

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    Takaya. Photo by Cheryl Alexander

     

    ONE YEAR AGO, on March 24, 2020, the famous sea-wolf known as Takaya was shot to death by a cougar hunter. 

    It would be easy to blame this individual hunter for Takaya’s death. But in reality, the blame for the death of Takaya—and thousands of wolves like him—lies with the cultural attitudes and policies that informed the hunter’s choice to pull the trigger.

    Although Takaya was a famous wolf, trusting and well-loved by humans, the blame for Takaya’s death should not be attributed to this. Lots of wolves are shot to death recreationally—in BC last year, over 1200 wolves were killed by hunters. None of those wolves were as well-loved as Takaya, as far as I know (although, like Takaya, each wolf is an individual with intrinsic value and their own story). Something other than love is leading to these fatal interactions between wolves and humans with guns.

    The hunter chose to kill Takaya on sight, for no reason other than that he was a wolf. Why do government policies encourage hunters to kill wolves? Upon what basis are these decisions made?

    A friend of the cougar hunter who killed Takaya provided some insight into their perspective in the following Instagram comment: “I’ve spoken with the authorities and the lady shot him because it was a management choice. Hunters are encouraged to kill predators when seen.”

    It is concerning that individual hunters can legally use lethal control to manipulate the delicate balance of predators and prey.

    Takaya’s story drew attention to two main problems with the existing wildlife management regime in BC. 

    First, individual hunters and trappers have the power to kill wolves anytime, anywhere, without accountability or oversight. No special license is required to kill a wolf, and there is no limit on the number of wolves that a hunter may trap. This is problematic for scientific and ethical reasons—wolves are not only apex predators, which are essential for healthy ecosystems, but also individuals who have a right to live. Furthermore, according to the Criminal Code of Canada, people are guilty of an indictable criminal offence when they willfully cause unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal.

    Second, most predators who wander into proximity with humans are killed rather than relocated. Takaya was given a chance at relocation only because of his fame. So, would he have a good chance of survival in the area where he was relocated?

     

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    Takaya. Photo by Cheryl Alexander

     

    To explore this question, and see how wildlife management policies led to Takaya’s death, let’s go back to the two months before Takaya was shot.

    After leaving his Discovery Island home in late January 2020, he had been captured in the heart of James Bay, tranquilized and relocated to the Gordon River drainage just east of Port Renfrew. The Conservation Service said that he left his small island home for a reason and therefore would not be returned to it. What reason? We will likely never know, but it is possible that it was also an accidental swim, or perhaps he intended to return after a brief foray but got disoriented in the city. Wouldn’t it have been most kind to have returned him to his home to see if that solved the issue? At least it was clear that he could survive there.

    But that didn’t happen. After being sedated and kept in a barrel overnight, Takaya was released, disoriented and half-drugged, then staggered off down a logging road. As Takaya roamed the rainforest outside of Port Renfrew, he had to really adapt and fight to stay alive. He was released into an unfamiliar environment—an ancient coastal temperate rainforest rather than the semi-arid arbutus woodland, Garry oak meadows and coastal bluff ecosystems of his islands. There he had hunted marine mammals along the shoreline. In his new rainforest environment, available prey mostly consisted of large terrestrial mammals (elk and deer), but not so many seals. Hunting deer and elk would be a difficult challenge for an aging lone wolf. 

    Another big challenge for Takaya was to navigate the presence of at least two wolf packs in the area. A wolf pack will not easily accept an older, solitary male wolf and would likely have killed Takaya. 

    And then, within a couple days, a rainstorm of “biblical proportions” hit, resulting in intense flooding in the river systems on the southern island with massive trees careening down the Gordon and San Juan River drainages. Takaya had no experience with rivers or log jams in his islands and must have wondered what was happening. 

    Sometime during this period, Takaya had a serious accident that resulted in ten broken ribs along one side of his body (discovered upon autopsy). In speaking with the provincial wildlife veterinarian, it seemed that a likely explanation for the injury was that Takaya had been swept into some logs while trying to navigate a fast-flowing river. This injury must have been excruciating and would have made it difficult for him to hunt and fend for himself. Yet, miraculously, he survived and thrived. A necropsy performed after his death would show that his ribs were healing and that he was otherwise healthy and well-fed, as evidenced by the freshly killed beaver found in his stomach. 

    Although the Conservation Service had placed him into the midst of many dangers, at a particularly bad time, Takaya managed to survive and thrive—as a self-sufficient wild wolf should.

    He also maintained his customary peaceful approach towards humans and dogs. The road running along the river was frequented by locals who walked or ran their dogs there. Takaya had lived for eight years without the company or physical contact with others of his kind. It is therefore perhaps understandable that he was curious and willing to interact peacefully with some of these dogs. After all, he had learned to trust that people meant him no harm during the eight years in the islands. He had learned the art of peaceful coexistence.

    By early March, it seemed that Takaya was well enough to travel. Perhaps he decided to head back to his islands, the only home he knew. The first part of his journey led him at least 50 kilometres west along the coast towards the city, getting as far as Sooke in mid-March. Then, for some reason he turned back. My guess is that he encountered the well-marked territorial boundaries of the wolves living near Sooke. A wolf, especially a lone wolf, will avoid entering areas controlled by other wolves. It is dangerous. 

    And so, Takaya ended up back in Port Renfrew by March 21. On March 22, Takaya again set out on the second part of his journey, this time east towards Shawnigan Lake, a direct route that might have taken him back to the islands off of Oak Bay. On March 24, after travelling 50 kilometres, he rose up out of a culverted ditch to observe cougar hunters who were putting their dogs back into the truck. Curious, Takaya stood watching about 15 metres away. An easy shot. The hunter raised a gun and fired.  

    Takaya was killed by a bullet from a hunter’s gun and by the culture and policies that had led the hunter to kill. Takaya was punished for being a wolf who had not learned to fear humans.

    I have been accused of encroaching on the wolf’s space, teaching him to be comfortable around all humans and taking away his wildness. I adamantly deny this accusation. Although he learned to trust me, he remained a wild wolf, and avoided most of the other humans who visited his chosen territory. If people ever came too close, he would either move into the woods or he would give a clear warning howl to back off. He lived inconspicuously, and most people visiting the islands never even saw Takaya. When I saw Takaya, I always kept a respectful distance. I was generally in my boat and was simply observing and quietly witnessing the life of the wolf who had come to realize that I wasn’t a threat to him. He never exhibited discomfort or distress in my presence. I advocated for his protection when necessary. Sometimes I asked people to stay further away from him. 

    I have also been accused of harassing the wolf, causing him to flee the islands. I deny this accusation as well. Over time, Takaya learned that I was not a danger to him. Once or twice, Takaya approached me when I was in the islands, and sometimes he even slept and groomed himself in my presence—behaviours that he would not have displayed if he had felt harassed. These behaviours also do not suggest that he was habituated. As renowned wolf expert Dr Gordon Haber noted, “the fear wolves show toward people is a realized fear, not a natural fear—one born of persecution.”

    Furthermore, when he left the islands in January 2020, I had not been to the islands for three months. He had been three months out in the islands with likely no contact with any other sentient being. Storm after winter storm would have kept all recreational boaters away. Takaya appeared on one of my trail cameras just a day before being seen in Victoria. He looked healthy and was patrolling his territory as he normally did. But maybe he just finally needed some action or some company.

     

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    Takaya. Photo by Cheryl Alexander

     

    It should not be the animal who takes the blame for learning to live with people. In fact, a concerted effort to coexist with wolves will be required as our populations continue to grow and we eat away into the wild habitats of the wolves and their prey. Wolves may need to learn that people won’t necessarily harm them and figure out ways to exist within our midst. People may need to learn how to accept and value the presence of wild predators and seek ways to keep themselves and their domesticated animals safe through non-lethal means. It can be done.

    Takaya was killed by a hunter’s decision to shoot a wolf that was not threatening nor a source of food. That decision was supported by a hunting culture that sees wolves as vermin and competition. It was also supported by current BC hunting regulations and laws. Although it may prove difficult to change the culture, we can act quickly to change policy. It is the government of BC who bears the primary responsibility for Takaya’s death. And the government must act now to stem the tide of the ongoing slaughter of significant apex predators like Takaya.

    Please visit www.takayaslegacy.com to find out more about current BC wolf hunting regulations, and about our ongoing efforts to protect BC wolves.

    Cheryl Alexander is a conservation photographer and naturalist who spent six years observing and documenting the life of Takaya, the lone sea-wolf who lived near Victoria, BC. She is the director of Takaya’s Legacy Project, an organization which seeks to inspire passion and action to protect wolves and the wilderness that remains on our earth. She is the executive producer of the CBC Nature of Things documentary Takaya: Lone Wolf, and the author of the book of the same name. On March 30, she will release two children’s books, Good Morning, Takaya and Takaya’s Journey.


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    His killer was female?  One stands out..  I believe that Takaya didn't intentionally want to go anywhere.  The waters were crazy, and although obviously a very strong wolf, the water was treacherous that day.

    Not needed for food to survive...but for the thrill of killing Takaya.  She knew who she's was killing.  I have no doubt!

    That's why she was there....R.I.P. sweet Takaya🌹

    Yes we will succeed and we will change this...

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    So now we know it was a femal low life that murdered Takaya. No doubt she knew what she was doing to me a sick individual who has no love for wolves just kills for thrills!! Very very sad. What does this say for the people in BC Government who are allowing the needless hunting and killing of wolves to continue. We will fight to stop the killing of wolves. Dear Takaya you were a very special strong resilient beautiful wolf who's legacy WILL continue & who's life will not be in vain.

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    I question that the hunter didn't know she was shooting Takaya.  It was well known that he was in the area.  I struggle with the facts that he lived his life in solitaire, never a threat to people and then he dies alone, by the unnecessary actions of a human.  RIP beautiful boy. Your spirit still resonates with so many of us. 

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    Thank you for the article. I did not expect it to change my mind from leaning heavily on the hunter for 100% of the blame for Takaya's death. You are correct,  we should examine our culture.  Takaya's  seems almost an accidental death.    It does indeed require a concerted effort to live with wolves, predators and other large mammals. It seems terribly important in this moment to examine the violence with which we view all the other animal species born to our time.  From wolves and cougars, to elephants and fish. We create trophy hunters. We made this person when we told our child: take care of this world, and without care we placed a dead animal on their plate. She saw how we built awkward justifications for why it is okay to only speak about care for the world but to continue to live with violence in our kitchen. We put a corpse on her plate and we told her: its okay to treat animals as food. We do not like the flavour of plant proteins as much, or we've always done it this way. My mother told me: we can't digest plants. I told my son: you've been hanging around with vegetarians, some people eat meat, others don't. These are awkward illogical gymnastics we deploy in order to build a structure that will  allow us continue to feast on corpses of animals.  Our children saw how dishonest we were when we said: take care. We have become like the villains we grew up with: "Hansel, stretch out your finger that I may see if it is fat enough to eat" or the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk who threatens: "I'll grind your bones to make my bread". We live violently,  three times a day. Takaya touched our hearts because we felt he saw us, and held us to a standard of care. We must see ourselves with honesty. 

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    I have great respect for Cheryl Alexander but I only half agree with the premise of her article.  To shift the full responsibility for Takaya's murder onto society and the democratic government it elects is to absolve the hunter of her moral responsibilities to the community of living beings and releases her from the implicit social contract we each have with humanity.  She violated and breached both of those when by her own will and volition she gunned down a defenseless animal in cold blood for no reason other than that she could.

    Before the identity of the hunter was even alluded to (and her name has not been released to my knowledge), I watched a clip of the video of the murder scene and I swear to you, I "smelled" death.  I can't explain how that's possible but I sensed an environment imbued with morbidity.  Quite why Takaya didn't sense the malevolence of these killers, leaves me to speculate.

    The whole matter of hunting needs to be examined in our culture.  I do not subscribe to the binary pro- and anti-hunting rhetoric.  Personally, I have turned against hunting but I do not seek to abolish it.  And currently I think there is a justifiable movement toward the abolition of the hunting of carnivores.

    What most concerns me is the subculture of recreational / trophy hunters who are infecting traditional hunting.  There has been a long history of that, i.e., African safaris, etc but we are now seeing a militarized and politicized movement toward the annihilation of species by people who are conflating hunting with conservation and the right to bear arms, even if those firearms are assault weapons.

    We need to take this very seriously.

    I am a registered counsellor, psychotherapist and clinical ecopsychologist and I am alarmed that this woman (who I suspect killed Takaya) who might very well have a narcissistic personality disorder and is clearly prone to psychotic behaviour is permitted by law to own and use firearms.  Her social media pages are awash with killing.  It's nauseating. 

    And her beliefs that she is somehow acting in the interests of conservation are utterly delusional.

    Yes, government policy must be changed and the more difficult challenge of dealing with the psychopathology that indulges wholesale killing of our beautiful wild animals will require a great deal more than the stroke of a pen on new legislation.

    The first order of business is to stop the legalization of wolf hunting and on that point, I am in full agreement with Cheryl.

     

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    On 2021-03-28 at 6:27 AM, Doug Pazienza said:

    I am a registered counsellor, psychotherapist and clinical ecopsychologist and I am alarmed that this woman (who I suspect killed Takaya) who might very well have a narcissistic personality disorder and is clearly prone to psychotic behaviour is permitted by law to own and use firearms.  Her social media pages are awash with killing.

    To clarify for readers, this commenter implies that he knows the identity of the hunter (based on his reference to the social media posts of a particular person). In fact, neither Cheryl Alexander or FOCUS knows the identity of the hunter and there is no suggestion that it is any particular person. 

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    We're in a time where old systems are giving way to the necessary emergence of new systems.  This is why systemic racism, ecocide, laws for nature, defunding the police and a plethora of transformational social change is shifting towards justice and equality.  Wildlife management is included in this shift, and the complexity makes it difficult to navigate a path to justice because of many variables entrenched in the old system of doing things.  What's happening to wolves, to what happened to Takaya, have many valuable contributions towards the argument for protecting not only wolves but wildlife, and the natural world.  What killed Takaya was an anthropocentric mentality of violent entitlement.  I am convinced by facts, that hunters of wolves in particular, fit the profile of serial killers, and I think it's safe to say the community of hunters at large also fit this profile.  There is a consistent desire for repetition, a greater thrill, there's a dopamine rush from the kill and a need to take pictures as a trophy.  I believe these people are not only enabled to become more and more psychopathic, but are cultivated and protected to do so, and are only temporarily pacified by killing animals.  If there's any moral question about the violent depravity of a passionate hunter, try discussing the option of taking their right to kill away and the reaction is categorical psychosis, a response as if their life is in danger.  There seems to be confusion as to why these people are allowed to carry on like true psychopaths, such as coyote whacking, and it's because state governments are using fish and wildlife as a gateway for facilitating the theft of public lands for expansive private ranch use, and the permission to kill natural predators for predation in their own habitat, the banks are complicit as well.  The lack of law and justice, and order is appalling as these people deserve to be in jail, and poaching is a great example of what happens when laws are not enacted with appropriate severity for crimes and those who commit them.  These people, the hunters, the officials keeping the gate open to abuse fish and wildlife programs, the bankers and the ranchers are all complicit in the unraveling of ecosystems through sheer stupidity, greed and violence.  

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    21 hours ago, Doug Pazienza said:

    I have great respect for Cheryl Alexander but I only half agree with the premise of her article.  To shift the full responsibility for Takaya's murder onto society and the democratic government it elects is to absolve the hunter of her moral responsibilities to the community of living beings and releases her from the implicit social contract we each have with humanity.  She violated and breached both of those when by her own will and volition she gunned down a defenseless animal in cold blood for no reason other than that she could.

    Before the identity of the hunter was even alluded to (and her name has not been released to my knowledge), I watched a clip of the video of the murder scene and I swear to you, I "smelled" death.  I can't explain how that's possible but I sensed an environment imbued with morbidity.  Quite why Takaya didn't sense the malevolence of these killers, leaves me to speculate.

    The whole matter of hunting needs to be examined in our culture.  I do not subscribe to the binary pro- and anti-hunting rhetoric.  Personally, I have turned against hunting but I do not seek to abolish it.  And currently I think there is a justifiable movement toward the abolition of the hunting of carnivores.

    What most concerns me is the subculture of recreational / trophy hunters who are infecting traditional hunting.  There has been a long history of that, i.e., African safaris, etc but we are now seeing a militarized and politicized movement toward the annihilation of species by people who are conflating hunting with conservation and the right to bear arms, even if those firearms are assault weapons.

    We need to take this very seriously.

    I am a registered counsellor, psychotherapist and clinical ecopsychologist and I am alarmed that this woman (who I suspect killed Takaya) who might very well have a narcissistic personality disorder and is clearly prone to psychotic behaviour is permitted by law to own and use firearms.  Her social media pages are awash with killing.  It's nauseating. 

    And her beliefs that she is somehow acting in the interests of conservation are utterly delusional.

    Yes, government policy must be changed and the more difficult challenge of dealing with the psychopathology that indulges wholesale killing of our beautiful wild animals will require a great deal more than the stroke of a pen on new legislation.

    The first order of business is to stop the legalization of wolf hunting and on that point, I am in full agreement with Cheryl.

     

    Her psychopathy is made clear when she says "the more you hate the more I kill".  We do need to take this very seriously.  It is not hyperbole to say these individuals are psychopathic and merely pacified by killing animals.  These individuals are not in any way shape or form, safe to walk freely in society.   Stopping the legalization of wolf hunting is a natural result from pointing out the glaring truth about this dangerously criminal behavior. 

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    9 hours ago, Haunani Hess said:

    Her psychopathy is made clear when she says "the more you hate the more I kill". 

    Again, to clarify for readers, this commenter implies that she knows the identity of the hunter. Neither Cheryl Alexander or FOCUS knows the identity of the hunter, and there is no intention to suggest that the hunter is any particular person. We ask that people not speculate on this website about the identity of the hunter who killed Takaya.

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    What a horrible article. It is a predator. I shoot wolves to thin the population. It allows other animals to survive. It is needed. It is science. Take your bleeding heart elsewhere. There are starving kids. This wolf would eat them. 

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    Predator hunting is extremely necessary. Elk populations are half there sizes in the east kootenays from 15 years ago and the kootenays hold majority of elk in bc. Wolves being the biggest killer of there populations. 40 out of 100 mule deer are killed yearly by cougars. The wolves are hard on mule deer elk moose. The grizzly populations are out of balance in northern bc as well and they prey on almost anything. Hunting predators gives the ungulates a chance at keeping a healthy population. And if you think hunting deer for meet is more evil than feedlots with cattle walking in there own crap pigs stuffed in to horrible barns and the way chickens are raised then educating yourself on the pros and cons of hunting vs not might be interesting. I get that she really liked that wolf and it didn’t need to die but look up videos of wolves grabbing peoples dogs on YouTube and you won’t love the wolves so much.

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    This is a very inflammatory and misleading article. Hunters do not see wolves as competition. Hunters also under the fine balance of nature far better than the average person as we immerse ourselves in nature and see it first hand. Animals are not on this landscape by accident. They have to managed. Unnatural features such as roads and logging have lead to a boom in wolf populations due to ease at which they can reach new hunting grounds. Ungulate populations across the province are way down and wolf predation is a major contributing factor (not the only factor but a major one). On the island cougar populations are down by 2/3rds and wolves are the second leading cause, right behind habitat loss. 
    Human conflict is not the main reason why wolf populations need to be managed. Nature is not a balance it is a pendulum, with wild swings that with the added strain of human encroachment could lead to extirpation of different species. Maintaining balance is our responsibility. 
    Transplanting animals doesn’t work because they will generally end right back where they came from. Despite the writer of this article’s belief the wolf was lost is asinine. Wolves and bears are frequently transplanted hundreds of miles from locations only to return right back from where they came from. The reason this wolf left the island it was on was because it was searching for a new food source, one that was not decimated. 
    Hunter may have shot as many wolves as she claims yet wolf populations are still increasing dramatically every year. Hunters do not want to see wolves removed from the landscape, despite what this article may imply. But we do want a healthy ecosystem and that requires proper management. What this author should be writing about is the pathetic wildlife management budget that we have in this province. We spend the least, per capita, on our wildlife and natural resource management compared to all Western States and Provinces. For a place that has Beautiful British Columbia on our license plates we sure don’t care if it stays that way. 
    One final comment. This article is clearly implying that hunting of wolves should be banned. Hunters care about the species as a whole where people here are giving human characteristics to an individual animal. The controversy over Cecil the lion got lion hunting on Zimbabwe banned but did not save a single lion. The only difference is instead of hunters paying for the cost to hunt and manage those animals and bringing money into the economy government officials killed them and tax dollars were used. 
     

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    8 hours ago, Sean said:

    What a horrible article. It is a predator. I shoot wolves to thin the population. It allows other animals to survive. It is needed. It is science. Take your bleeding heart elsewhere. There are starving kids. This wolf would eat them. 

    I agree, it is horrible because it is necessary to bring into focus the darker side of the human condition.  There are damaged people whose deranged behaviour is destroying the animal kingdom.  They need guns, firearms, assault weapons to kill off the predators (wolves) on whom they project their deep-seated resentments.  But they can kill, kill and kill, even annihilate the pack of wolves on Sooke but they cannot kill the one thing that drives them to do it....  Why? Because it lives within them and the more they kill the more they feed the pain in themselves.

    In this case, the killer murdered a wolf that was loved by many, many people across the world.  Their heart must have already bled dry a long time ago.  Why else would they inflict this on a defenseless animal and 1000s of people who adored and loved Takaya?  That killer wanted to maim - even kill those of us who loved Takaya.

    The world is a horrible, beautiful place.  Humans brought the horrible.  The rest is nature.  If you understand nature, you'll know that there are predators and prey.  If that upsets you, then perhaps you need to step out of the picture, get some help, read the teachings of Sigurd Olson,  Aldo Leopold or countless other naturalists.  You will find beauty. 

    It isn't science what you do, Sean. 

    You have a heart for starving kids.  Were you left to go hungry when you were a child?  That's horrible.  But a wolf did not steal your dinner and a wolf was not looking to make a meal of you either.  It is not scientific to project your problems onto the natural world.  The natural world, the whole thing, is there to give you life - and that includes the wolves.  Do you know the story of Romulus and Remus?  Do you know about Ergenekon?  Google them.

    Do something good for yourself, Sean.  Put some time into ecology.  Do some charity work for children.  You'll feel much better about yourself and wolves.  They kill to eat because they are predators.  That's nature's way. 

    Don't you understand that you are condemning wolves as predators but you are predating on wolves which makes you a predator?

    Edited by Doug Pazienza
    bad grammar
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    Whoever made that film acclimated a wild animal to humans when they spent all that time filming the documentary... There's no chance that a wolf from the interior would get that close to cougar hunters, didn't Takaya go into Victoria too? Clearly wrecked by being too close to humans, she was dead from the day she didn't run away from the photographers. Leave wild animals wild.

     

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    39 minutes ago, Shamus said:

    This is a very inflammatory and misleading article. Hunters do not see wolves as competition. Hunters also under the fine balance of nature far better than the average person as we immerse ourselves in nature and see it first hand. Animals are not on this landscape by accident. They have to managed. Unnatural features such as roads and logging have lead to a boom in wolf populations due to ease at which they can reach new hunting grounds. Ungulate populations across the province are way down and wolf predation is a major contributing factor (not the only factor but a major one). On the island cougar populations are down by 2/3rds and wolves are the second leading cause, right behind habitat loss. 
    Human conflict is not the main reason why wolf populations need to be managed. Nature is not a balance it is a pendulum, with wild swings that with the added strain of human encroachment could lead to extirpation of different species. Maintaining balance is our responsibility. 
    Transplanting animals doesn’t work because they will generally end right back where they came from. Despite the writer of this article’s belief the wolf was lost is asinine. Wolves and bears are frequently transplanted hundreds of miles from locations only to return right back from where they came from. The reason this wolf left the island it was on was because it was searching for a new food source, one that was not decimated. 
    Hunter may have shot as many wolves as she claims yet wolf populations are still increasing dramatically every year. Hunters do not want to see wolves removed from the landscape, despite what this article may imply. But we do want a healthy ecosystem and that requires proper management. What this author should be writing about is the pathetic wildlife management budget that we have in this province. We spend the least, per capita, on our wildlife and natural resource management compared to all Western States and Provinces. For a place that has Beautiful British Columbia on our license plates we sure don’t care if it stays that way. 
    One final comment. This article is clearly implying that hunting of wolves should be banned. Hunters care about the species as a whole where people here are giving human characteristics to an individual animal. The controversy over Cecil the lion got lion hunting on Zimbabwe banned but did not save a single lion. The only difference is instead of hunters paying for the cost to hunt and manage those animals and bringing money into the economy government officials killed them and tax dollars were used. 
     

    Shamus - hunters come in all shapes and sizes.  Your sweeping remark about hunters is misleading.  Strange as it may seem, some hunters do see the wolf as competition.   They will argue that wolf predation on ungulates is making it harder for hunters to bag an ungulate.  In fact, weather and habitat are the leading determinants of ungulate population; not wolf predation.  You make some good points about habitat loss and resource mismanagement at a provincial level.  Canada's and BC's records are ecocidal.  Mining and timber interests are devastating BC and I am appalled by the laissez-faire "regulation" of these industries.  The ministry that overseas fish and wildlife in BC is utterly derelict.  The extractive industries which dominate BC's economy and employ many thousands have perpetuated an exploitative mindset among the people and the government.  It needs a serious update as it's still stuck in the early 20th century.  Yes, it appears that nature is out of balance but most of the time, if we would stop meddling with it, the self-organizing principle of ecosystems will find stasis.  You can't advocate for wolf hunting in the name of balanced ecosystems by continuing the current arrangement.  And by perpetuating almost unregulated wolf slaughter, you are feeding the compulsive, psychotic behaviours of people like the said trophy hunters.  Your thinking needs to evolve past humancentricity.  You're almost there!

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    Doug, my thinking is far past “humancentricity” as you put it. You’re right not all hunters want to see wolves on the landscape but the majority do. And wolves are highly managed. Quotas and mandatory reporting and inspections are required for the majority of the province (including Vancouver Island) and areas that do not have these requirements have booming wolf populations. If hunters truly wanted wolves wiped out they would have done that a long time ago. If hunting is every seen to be having a negative impact on populations of any species (wolves included) seasons, harvest levels are shortened, reduced or closed all together. Again, wolf populations are growing every year. 
    We can never stop “meddling” in nature. You seem to not realize that we are part of nature and not separate from it. If you live here you are part of nature. There is no separation. Wildlife management needs funding. Your call for a sweeping ban on the hunting of wolves based on the actions of one individual isn’t fair either. And to call the person that hunted this wolf, who you don’t know and neither do I, a psychopath because they lawful hunted a wolf is not fair. You know nothing of their motivation to hunt that wolf and you are making judgments on them based on your own preconceived notions. Wildlife management needs to be based on science and not emotion. If we start managing wildlife based on emotion wildlife will lose in the end. 

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    15 minutes ago, Shamus said:

    Doug, my thinking is far past “humancentricity” as you put it. You’re right not all hunters want to see wolves on the landscape but the majority do. And wolves are highly managed. Quotas and mandatory reporting and inspections are required for the majority of the province (including Vancouver Island) and areas that do not have these requirements have booming wolf populations. If hunters truly wanted wolves wiped out they would have done that a long time ago. If hunting is every seen to be having a negative impact on populations of any species (wolves included) seasons, harvest levels are shortened, reduced or closed all together. Again, wolf populations are growing every year. 
    We can never stop “meddling” in nature. You seem to not realize that we are part of nature and not separate from it. If you live here you are part of nature. There is no separation. Wildlife management needs funding. Your call for a sweeping ban on the hunting of wolves based on the actions of one individual isn’t fair either. And to call the person that hunted this wolf, who you don’t know and neither do I, a psychopath because they lawful hunted a wolf is not fair. You know nothing of their motivation to hunt that wolf and you are making judgments on them based on your own preconceived notions. Wildlife management needs to be based on science and not emotion. If we start managing wildlife based on emotion wildlife will lose in the end. 

    Shamus - Thanks for your thoughtful reply.  My tail is between my legs right now as I humbly concede that you are absolutely 100% correct that we are part of nature.  I teach ecotherapy and that is ecotherapy 101.  I fell into the trap of speaking about nature as something extrinsic or apart for the ease of posting a comment on here to the unenlightened or just to make my point less copious than it already was.  I was wrong to do that.  So thank you.  We students/scholars of ecopsychology and its clinical application, ecotherapy speak of the "more than human" or the "other than human" when speaking of the biotic and abiotic world.  It can get a little clumsy in this forum.  Likewise, I used  "humancentricity" because I thought "anthropocentric" sounded too high-minded or intellectual and I am trying to communicate to a broad audience - not an echo chamber.  Understand please that it is not always easy to post an effective and meaningful comment.

    You recognize that human interference upset ecosystems and argue that human intervention is needed to rebalance them in some way.  But in whose favour?  The North American approach to wildlife management is fundamentally wrong.  It might have been okay in Teddy Roosevelt's day but it isn't in the Sixth Mass Extinction which is occuring now.

    Some of us have evolved and are enlightened.  The Canadian government and BC's provincial govt in particular has not.  Hunter licenses funding conservation is not a license to massacre whether protected by law or otherwise.  That is what's happening. 

    Jacine & co are egregious and flagrant examples.  I am outraged by them but my position on BC wolf "mgmt" is not informed by their exploits.  They have only steeled my determination to see the laws changed.  And they will.  The whole thing has moved on toward a stakeholder model and an even more progressive model developed in BC for the social license to hunt model.  And it's coming.

    So you say that emotions don't belong in this.  Codswallop!

    Emotional and cognitive intelligence constitute our human nature.  If you are not acknowledging or denying others the grief they so need to express for Takaya's murder or the wanton killing of wolves then you are robbing yourself/them of their humanity.  And the flip side of grief for the murder of Takaya is the love of wolves and the animal kingdom.

    What is science to you?  I have a BSc (Hons) which is a bachelor of science degree and much of the data that I work with is qualitative data.  Even my BA aka bachelor of arts in two fields substantiates the validity of qualitative analysis in social science research methods.

    Conventional science is dominated by Darwin's, Newton's and Descartes' theories.  They have given us incredible technological breakthroughs but they are not flawless nor are they comprehensively correct.  And they have got us into trouble.  They are deterministic, mechanistic and materialistic and can't explain the incalculable and unpredictable qualities of the vitalistic processes of nature.

    Conventional medicine is only now coming to grips with the fact that Descartes' cartesian dualism (body-mind split) is nonsense.  The counselling and psychotherapy I practice is holistic and relational. 

    Modern systems theory will tell you quite elementarily that change in one part of a system can be manifested in an entirely different part of the system in unexpected ways.  The Western approach to epistemology is a mindset that seeks to isolate, rank and classify data in order to make it reductive information that we can use.  

    That is a big problem.  And as Gregory Bateson said, "The major problems of the world are the result of how nature works and the way people think".

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    I have a BSc Honours degree as well. Thanks for dumbing it down for me though. And Social Science is an oxymoron. That wolf was not murdered. It was killed. If you are going to place human characteristics on animals then that wolf was a homicidal maniac and would have killed hundreds of deer. Science is basing wildlife management policies on sustainable harvest and managing based on carrying capacities and to have an abundance of all wildlife species, not just the charismatic Disney animals. I care about the health of the entire system over that of an individual animal.

    And your quote is accurate. Nature doesn’t care if you give an animal a name or not. Nature is nature. It harsh, savage and beautiful. You are thinking nature will just look after itself and that is not the case as long as humans are on the landscape. Wild animals will only continue to exist as long as we actively manage them. 
     

    Some people are content to merely observe nature. I choose to be an active participant. 

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    2 minutes ago, Shamus said:

    I have a BSc Honours degree as well. Thanks for dumbing it down for me though. And Social Science is an oxymoron. That wolf was not murdered. It was killed. If you are going to place human characteristics on animals then that wolf was a homicidal maniac and would have killed hundreds of deer. Science is basing wildlife management policies on sustainable harvest and managing based on carrying capacities and to have an abundance of all wildlife species, not just the charismatic Disney animals. I care about the health of the entire system over that of an individual animal.

    And your quote is accurate. Nature doesn’t care if you give an animal a name or not. Nature is nature. It harsh, savage and beautiful. You are thinking nature will just look after itself and that is not the case as long as humans are on the landscape. Wild animals will only continue to exist as long as we actively manage them. 
     

    Some people are content to merely observe nature. I choose to be an active participant. 

    Shamus, I don't think I was condescending but evidently something I said struck a nerve.  Are you going to tell the University of Minnesota that social science is an oxymoron?  Please yourself.  Murdered.  Yes, murdered.  In cold blood.  I'm not anthropomorphising it.  Her actions are indefensible, immoral, unethical and inhumane.  No argument there.  No, wolves are not maniacs or bloodthirsty killers so your analogy is a stretch too far to be given any airtime by me.  Carrying capacities, I understand those and I could cite the research by Dr L David Mech if you wish.  I did not restrict my comments to Takaya but I also didn't ignore the subjective importance of an individual wolf with whom we formed a relationship, virtual or otherwise.  I have just as vociferously defended wolves in the comments to the other Focus article "Local wolf pack killed by hunter".   I do not venerate nor do I villify the wolf.  I defend wolves because of what people are doing to them.  And I am committed to changing policy.  I don't know what quote you are referring to.

    When it comes to wildlife "management", I am advocating for a new paradigm.  I am looking at the subject in the round and that includes all the science.  It involves policy, public attitudes and the triad of planetary crises that are existential.  But until we deal with our anthropocentrism, we will keep making the same mistakes.

    Therefore if there is any "management" to be done, it begins with human "management".

     

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    You are condescending and you are anthropomorphising wolves. You’re right wolves aren’t blood thirsty killers and neither are those who hunt them so your comment is inflammatory and ignorant. And yes, social science is an oxymoron. I stick by that. Hard sciences should dictate wildlife policy. The North American Model of Wildlife Management is the most successful wildlife model and is the gold standard. You would be far better served putting your efforts into protecting one of the 21 endangered/threatened species in your own state than telling those in another country how to manage their wildlife, especially a species of least concern

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    Are we all just going to pretend that "ecopsychology" is a valid field of study rather than hipster d-bag mumbo-jumbo designed to sell books of questionable theories to the gullible?

    Science yields repeatable results.  "Ecopsychology" does no such thing.  Let's stop pretending that this is in any way related to anything truly scientific.

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    17 minutes ago, Jason said:

    Are we all just going to pretend that "ecopsychology" is a valid field of study rather than hipster d-bag mumbo-jumbo designed to sell books of questionable theories to the gullible?

    Science yields repeatable results.  "Ecopsychology" does no such thing.  Let's stop pretending that this is in any way related to anything truly scientific.

    Nothing so blind as those who won't see.

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    Hey Doug:

    Any chance you can shoot me an email at rob@robchipman.net?  I think you might be a bit misinformed about a few things, but I'm not super interested in an online debate. I'd rather engage more thoughtfully. 

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    On 2021-03-30 at 5:54 AM, Doug Pazienza said:

    I agree, it is horrible because it is necessary to bring into focus the darker side of the human condition.  There are damaged people whose deranged behaviour is destroying the animal kingdom.  They need guns, firearms, assault weapons to kill off the predators (wolves) on whom they project their deep-seated resentments.  But they can kill, kill and kill, even annihilate the pack of wolves on Sooke but they cannot kill the one thing that drives them to do it....  Why? Because it lives within them and the more they kill the more they feed the pain in themselves.

    In this case, the killer murdered a wolf that was loved by many, many people across the world.  Their heart must have already bled dry a long time ago.  Why else would they inflict this on a defenseless animal and 1000s of people who adored and loved Takaya?  That killer wanted to maim - even kill those of us who loved Takaya.

    The world is a horrible, beautiful place.  Humans brought the horrible.  The rest is nature.  If you understand nature, you'll know that there are predators and prey.  If that upsets you, then perhaps you need to step out of the picture, get some help, read the teachings of Sigurd Olson,  Aldo Leopold or countless other naturalists.  You will find beauty. 

    It isn't science what you do, Sean. 

    You have a heart for starving kids.  Were you left to go hungry when you were a child?  That's horrible.  But a wolf did not steal your dinner and a wolf was not looking to make a meal of you either.  It is not scientific to project your problems onto the natural world.  The natural world, the whole thing, is there to give you life - and that includes the wolves.  Do you know the story of Romulus and Remus?  Do you know about Ergenekon?  Google them.

    Do something good for yourself, Sean.  Put some time into ecology.  Do some charity work for children.  You'll feel much better about yourself and wolves.  They kill to eat because they are predators.  That's nature's way. 

    Don't you understand that you are condemning wolves as predators but you are predating on wolves which makes you a predator?

    You are pretty far off. Dramatically far off. This person shot a predator. That wolf would hunt me. I have been stalked by wolves twice. I have put much time into ecology. I wont argue with you. You dont have the capacity to learn nor the interest. Just look at what the professionals say, not the passionate ones. 

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