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The "Judas" wolf controversy took a new twist today when the Wildlife Defence League (WDL) released audio recordings and transcripts from an individual they say has a direct tie to the wolf cull.
The "Judas" wolf is a lone wolf that is reportedly left alive and tracked by a radio collar so it can lead hunters to its pack later on. Although WDL contends this technique is used in B.C., the province denied this.
On the audio recording the source is identified as a retired wildlife patrol guide who works with the caribou recovery program. The WDL declined to identify their source.
He tells the WDL that he radio collars wolves and explains how it’s done.
“You set out a foot trap that’s got a gap in it so it won’t break bones or do any tissue damage and then you get one and then you tranquilize it and they’re submissive, they’re a piece of cake to work on,” the source says.
“I have a video of one I did, its tail is wagging, just like a dog.”
Tommy Knowles, campaign director for the WDL, said they met the guide in the South Selkirks while researching and documenting the B.C. government’s wolf cull.
According to the source, the collared wolf is a subdominant male. The GPS collar reports to a satellite every fours hours, telling hunters the location of the wolf.
If the wolf sits in an area for 24 hours that suggests that the pack has a kill, at which point the hunters in the helicopter can “buzz in [and] see if he’s got new recruitment…” the source tells the WDL.
At one point, the former wildlife guide describes the Judas wolf: 'You got a radio collar on it and they know where the one is at. They leave that one with a radio collar to live. Now they can come back and he’s got buddies, better take them out.”
A spokesperson with the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources denied Monday that the government or its contractors are using a using a single, radio-collared wolf — known as a Judas wolf — year upon year to track wolf packs.
“Is the government being dishonest with the public, who are footing the bill for this slaughter? Or are they just out of touch with the reality of their kill program?” said Knowles. “Whatever the case, we need to get to the bottom of it, and request that the government clarify what tactics are really being used in the cull.”
A response from the B.C. Forestry, Lands and Natural Resources ministry is pending.
Neither Clay Wilson, president of Cranbrook-based, B.C. Bighorn Helicopters, or the company’s operations manager, Jim Drozduk, could be reached for comment.