Wednesday, December 23, 2015

When Celebrities Become Conservation Experts

© Othmar Vohringer

(Originally published in the Merritt Herald)

If you read newspapers regularly or watch the news on TV you couldn’t miss all the hoopla about pop idol Miley Cyrus coming to BC, on invitation of the Pacific Wild Organization, to protest against the wolf culling program. You may ask; “Who is Miley Cyrus?” Don’t worry I had to look it up too! She is the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, and best known for wearing skimpy, if any, clothing on stage, her stage behaviour and song lyrics are explicit to the point that her concerts and music records come with a parental advisory warning.

Miley Cyrus is the latest in a long list of celebrities that came to Canada to protest hunting and try to tell our government what they do wrong. Indeed, it has become somewhat of an ugly tradition here in British Columbia and the rest of Canada that foreign celebrities are invited by foreign interest sponsored organizations trying to manipulate Canadian politics through the backdoor.

In an interview Miley provided her pearls of wisdom to the media and her worldwide fan base on Facebook and Twitter. “When I first spoke out I knew in my heart that the wolf cull was wrong. But after this visit, I know science is on my side, not just on the wolf cull, but also on the trophy hunt issue. Both are unsustainable and both are horrific. Both have to end.” Then she continued to lecture our government on wolf conservation, all the while referring to wolves as an “endangered species”. Like so many of these celebrities, apparently becoming overnight wildlife conservation experts, she didn’t know that wolves are anything but endangered by any stretch of the imagination, not here in BC or elsewhere in North America.

While I do not see eye to eye with Premier Christy Clark on many topics I have to give her credit for her comeback at Miley Cyrus. “If we need help on our twerking policy in the future, perhaps we can go and seek her advice.” Clark explained; “We’re trying to defend an endangered species and population of caribou that will go utterly extinct in British Columbia if we don’t do this. I just hope that they really work a little to understand the issue.” I am glad that so far the BC government has not fallen for these celebrities, hired by interest groups. Instead, I am pleased to say that our government continues to base wildlife conservation on sound science, taking the necessary steps to ensure that future generations will see good wildlife populations, even if that means culling wolves in some areas to ensure a natural balance between predator and prey species.

Not so long ago the federal government was accused of cutting funding for wildlife conservation and gutting the fishery, leaving our salmon and other fish to face an uncertain future. Turns out it was nothing more than a rumour persistently regurgitated by foreign special interest groups and gobbled up here by the opposition and the mainstream media. The fact is, as I found out after doing some research on the matter, that no previous federal government has provided more funding for wildlife and habitat conservation than the Harper government. The fisheries have not been gutted. Instead, more responsibility and authority has been delegated to the provinces, and quite rightly so. Provincial governments are much better suited to address problems with the fishery in their jurisdictions and act faster than a centralized department in faraway Ottawa. The decentralizing of fish and water management with more say and responsibility for the provinces should have happened many years ago.

For Miley Cyrus my advice would be: Stick to singing and twerking. Wildlife conservation is certainly not your thing even if you think that having a picture taken close to bears makes you an expert on BC’s wildlife conservation.

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