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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An examination of wildlife policy in Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park Pearse, Anthony Dalton


My objective in this thesis is to compare the correlation between policy intent and policy outcome with respect to wildlife management in Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park. The Order-in-Council establishing the park articulates a management policy which is to allow "natural communities to remain intact and the progressions of natural systems to proceed without alteration." The study begins by interpreting the policy statement to mean that no human action will be permitted within the park that will disrupt the ecological order of existing wildlife communities. The subsequent analysis is divided into four stages. First, I identify the key, operating principles that govern northern boreal forest ecosystems such as that characterizing Spatsizi. Second, I formulate management guidelines from these identified ecological principles. This is followed by a review of prevailing management practices in the park. Last I assess the prevailing practices in terms of their consistency with my derived guidelines in order to determine to what extent policy objectives are being met. The results of this analysis revealed that of six management guidelines developed for Spatsizi wildlife policy, only one was presently being implemented by park managers. The conclusion is that current wildlife management in Spatsizi Park is not being carried out on an ecologically sound basis and, therefore, is not achieving, and is unlikely to achieve, the objectives of the stated policy. Empirical support is lent to this conclusion by the apparent decline of several ungulate populations within the park. My recommendations include a temporary suspension of all bunting within and adjacent to the park until the necessary biological studies have been conducted and the essential criteria for enabling the harvest to occur in accordance with the policy mandate have been met. An essential element here is that a wildlife refuge containing viable populations of all big game species in the Spatsizi region be established wherein no development or exploitation of wildlife be allowed to take place.

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