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The sustained insanity that is the Canadian tar sands exploitation has been turned up another notch this week – with a a huge projected wolf cull.

The problem is that the massive environmental devastation caused by the extraction of the marginal energy resource is causing a decline in caribou numbers. According to the Pembina Institute, a Canadian non-profit think tank that advances clean energy solutions, “95% of woodland caribou habitat in northeastern Alberta is to be lost in order to promote oil sands development.

Faced with this threat to one of the iconic mammals of the frozen north – what's the Canadian government's answer? – well obviously it's to launch an attack on the caribou's main predator, the wolf. The plan is to posion some wolves with strychnine and gun down the rest from helicopters. Environment minister Peter Kent has been quoted as saying that "thousands" of wolves might need to be killed.

A four year study by the the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington, agrees that mining oil from tar sands is a greater threat to caribou than predation by wolves. After all wolves and caribou have managed to violently co-exist for nearly two million years in the area Lu Carbyn, an Emeritus Research Scientist with the Canadian Wildlife Service and adjunct professor at the University of Alberta,has stated that “restoring habitat in highly disturbed oil and gas regions should be the top priority for anyone interested in caribou conservation”.

The study found that in winter, oil production activity is at its height. when food sources for caribou diminish and the animals rely on lichen. Moreover, oil extracting operations take place in the same open, frozen areas that caribou use. The noise, vehicles, machinery and industrial commotion of oil extraction stress the caribou as they try to paw through the snow for sustenance.

Tar sands extraction is one more in a long series of insults to the natural resources of Alberta. Logging and oil and gas production are also adversely altering, fragmenting and degrading the forests of Canada. According to Ed Struzik, Canadian author and Arctic specialist “At last count, 34,773 wells, 66,489 kilometers of seismic lines, 11,591 kilometers of pipelines, and 12,283 kilometers of roads had been built in caribou country in west central and northern Alberta. That doesn’t include the vast areas of forest that have been logged”

Over the past five years, the government of Alberta has spent more than $1 million poisoning wolves with strychnine and shooting them from the air. In all, more than 500 wolves have been killed.

For more on anti-tar sands action http://www.no-tar-sands.org/

For more on wolves http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_wolf  

Stories about similar subjects...

Environmental activist is released after seven years imprisonment.

Anti-road protestors in Bexhill were ambushed by an early start to the tree-felling on the controversial Bexhill-Hastings link road this week, but they rallied and using direct action have put a spanner in the works.

Restart of fracking after year and half delay set to amp up resistance

Activists gather outside UN talks at Doha, Qatar as negotiators pretend to debate climate change.

Anti-Nuclear activists blockade UK plants to protest the extent of destruction upcoming expansion will cause.

UPDATE: The sh*t's well and truly hit the fan since we published this interview last week... Stay tuned for more SchNEWS from the front...

With the dark clouds of unconventional gas extraction looming over the British Isles, the anti-fracking resistance is responding by cranking it up a gear. Community groups across the country are organising for a day of action on Saturday 1st December...

As fifteen intrepid No Dash for Gas activists occupy a West Burton power station for the fourth day...

Twitter: @SchNEWS