Defender Radio and The Switch

British Columbia has ordered the killing of hundreds of wolves as part of their caribou recovery plan in recent years. You can hear more about this plan, the maternal penning and ongoing habitat destruction in episodes past. A 2019 study gave scientific support to killing wolves to protect the caribou – despite widespread opposition, it largely became government policy.

But this summer, a new paper was published that not only challenges the first study, but points to multiple flaws that may have contributed to government sanctioned killing of 463 wolves in the last year alone. The new paper, titled No statistical support for wolf control and maternal penning as conservation measures for endangered mountain caribou was published in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation. In it, the authors describe the lack of a ‘null model’ in the original paper as a major flaw – as well as a few other issues.

This is a highly politicized issue with many factors; but truly understanding what the missing null model means and how it impacts the rest of the science – and ultimately the government policy – was difficult for me. That’s why I reached out to Amelia Porter.

Amelia is one of The Fur-Bearers science advisors; as a registered professional biologist, Amelia works as an environmental scientist and has the skills – and patience – to break down the complex science of these cull-related studies. She joined Defender Radio to review the two primary studies involved in this latest conversation and why we should be pushing for government to follow the latest science to protect caribou and wolves.

We’ve got one extra bit that didn’t make it into our interview, too, so hang on after the full interview to hear it!


The Atlantic Article

Study: The long road to protecting critical habitat for species at risk: The case of southern mountain woodland caribou

Study: Saving endangered species using adaptive management

Study: No statistical support for wolf control and maternal penning as conservation measures for endangered mountain caribou

Article: 500 dead wolves vs. 500 lost jobs: Town balks at potential cost of saving caribou in northeastern B.C.!


Direct download: Defender_Radio_Podcast_717_Amelia_Porter_BC_Wolf_Cull.mp3
Category:Season 07 -- posted at: 11:17am EDT

Media outlets paint wildlife as the perpetrators of actions against people. But in their own recounting of events, they show how humans often started the conflicts. Former journalist and host of Defender Radio Michael Howie explores this issue and asks the questions that went unanswered by media outlets when humans and wildlife come into conflict.

This audio essay was first published at

All associated links can be found there.

This bonus episode is brought to you by Use promocode DEFENDERRADIO to get 10% off your ethically made, animal-inspired jewellery today!

Direct download: Defender_Radio_Podcast_BONUS_Essay_Media_Blame_Wildlife.mp3
Category:Season 07 -- posted at: 4:44pm EDT

Hi folks!

There's no episode this week because I'm on vacation! The episode art is from earlier today of JJ the Lake Hound, waiting for me to toss her ball in the water (which was necessary as it was 40+ with the humidity!). 

We'll be back soon with a new episode. Don't forget to check out, where you can get 10% off the purchase of a Made in Canada animal charm. Not only are the metals ethically sourced and often recycled, a portion of proceeds go to help in field animal projects! Hit up and use promocode DEFENDERRADIO for 10% off. 

From a cabin deep in the woods, I'll talk to you soon!

Mike and JJ


Category:Season 07 -- posted at: 5:18pm EDT

Nearly five years ago to the day, then-Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant famously refused an order to unnecessarily kill two healthy bear cubs; he was suspended, effectively fired and eventually left government service entirely. But just a few weeks ago, justices in BC’s appellant court ruled that the province did not play by their own rules, meaning Bryce has been, in a word, vindicated. Today, Bryce shared the story of how doing the right thing left him in a legal battle with the province that lasted over four and a half years.

Additionally, Bryce recently successfully defended his doctoral thesis – which happens to look, in part, at the history of the Conservation Officer Service and how they went from game wardens to an armed law enforcement agency.

In this in-depth conversation, Bryce and I discuss the background and decision of his court case, the need to have hard conversations about less visible law enforcement agencies, legislative hide and seek, mission creep, and how it feels to be vindicated.

This episode is sponsored by AnimalStone! A family-owned and operated business based in Toronto, AnimalStone handmakes gorgeous charms of animals – and gives back a portion of proceeds to non-profits working to protect those animals! Even better, the metals used are ethically sourced in Canada and often come from recycled materials. Listeners of Defender Radio can get 10% off their order by using promo code DEFENDERRADIO at Learn more about this great company and their beautiful jewellery at

Conservation officer suspended for refusing to kill bear cubs:

No charges against Coquitlam residents accused of obstructing conservation officers:

Casavant v. British Columbia Labour Relations Board), 2020 BCCA 159:

Direct download: Defender_Radio_Podcast_716_Bryce_Casavant_Vindicated.mp3
Category:Season 07 -- posted at: 6:48pm EDT