Photo: Paul Nicklen

Coexisting with Wildlife

The Raincoast Education Society believes that education is central to co-existing with wildlife. Human pressures on wildlife habitat are increasing throughout the world, and Clayoquot Sound is no exception. In response to recent human-food habituation of wolves on Vargas Island (north of Tofino), we have written an Open Letter to the BC Parks and Conservation Officers (BC Ministry of Environment) in support of the Ahousaht First Nation’s demand for a no-kill policy for Vargas Island wolves. This letter has been submitted on behalf of the Raincoast Education Society, Paul Nicklen (National Geographic Society), Cristina Mittermeier (Sea Legacy), and Ocean Simone Shine (Ocean Outfitters).

Please read the Open Letter below, sign the Petition in support of a no-kill policy for the Vargas Island wolves, and familiarize yourself with how to prevent conflicts when recreating in wolf country:

1. Read the Open Letter to BC Parks & Conservation Officer Services.

2. Sign the Petition to Protect the Vargas wolf pack.

3. Read our Guidelines for Coexisting with Wolves in the Ecotourism Industry

Photo of wolves on beach
Photo: Paul Nicklen

British Columbia’s coastal wolves are special, living a unique existence, hunting and beach combing on the fringe between rainforest and ocean. Scientists believe that these small, sea-faring wolves may be a distinct subspecies to the rugged coastlines of the BC coast. As a keystone species, they are critical to maintaining the balance of coastal ecosystems, are sacred to the Ahousaht Nation, and are a draw to visitors of the BC Coast.

The coastal wolves of Vargas Island are in danger because of human-induced conflict.

BC’s coastal wolves rely on access to beaches and the ocean for food. Wolves are highly intelligent social animals and their packs work just like close-knit human families do. With more than 80 percent of their food provided by the sea, they rely on what the tide brings in. At times, that food comes in with humans. With the summer tourists camping on Vargas beaches, these wolves have learned to dine on human food left behind or improperly secured by campers. It is up to us, as humans, to adapt and to be responsible for our actions in wolf country.

Wolves have evolved to live on this coast for centuries. Especially in small families like the Vargas Pack, survival of every member is critical. The Vargas Island wolves were nearly killed off several years ago because of this same issue. Now, just when this population is starting to recover, we are at a crossroads. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

Please join us in urging BC Parks and Ministry of the Environment to take the following actions to keep the Vargas Island wolves wild and all human visitors safe:

1. Honour the Ahousaht Nation’s request for a No Kill Policy for the Vargas Island wolf pack.

2. Adapt Vargas Island management plans to reflect the No Kill Policy put forward by the Ahousaht Nation.

3. Inform and enforce mandatory use of bear and wolf-proof food cache systems and zero tolerance for any improperly stored food (including food stored in kayaks).

4. Install bear and wolf-proof food caches at all camping areas.

Thank you for your support!