Miley Cyrus took a break from her new friends the Flaming Lips for a quick visit to beautiful British Columbia this past weekend (September 19).
The American pop superstar was hosted by Pacific Wild, a B.C.-based environmental group who Cyrus has partnered with to speak out against an annual wolf cull the provincial government announced last January. She travelled to a forested region of the central coast of B.C. where she spent two days with scientists and First Nations people.
“This reason why I am here is I want to see the wolf cull ended,” Cyrus says in a video produced by Pacific Wild.
“When I first spoke out, I knew in my heart that the wolf cull was wrong,” she said quoted in a media release. “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.”
In January 2015, the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations announced plans to cull 184 wolves per year for the next five years in the South Selkirk Mountains and the South Peace region. According to a government release, the predators are hunting eight herds of caribou to the point there is a risk they could be wiped out.
The first of five culls concluded last April with the government stating 84 wolves had been “removed”.
Cyrus evidently disagrees with the government’s methods.
Her mention of a trophy hunt is in reference to B.C.’s annual bear hunts. In April 2015, the Straight reported that every year in B.C., the government permits hunters to kill an average of 262 grizzly bears and 3,965 black bears.
Cyrus first showed an interest in the B.C. wolf cull in a series of Instagram posts that started on September 8.
“Why is the British Columbia government killing our wild wolves?” reads a message the 22-year-old singer posted there. That picture had received more than 175,000 likes at the time of writing.
In the Pacific Wild video released today (September 21), Cyrus pre-emptively addresses criticisms that might dismiss her as an entertainer who doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
“That’s given me such a platform,” she says. “Even people that work in research for 52 years, it takes someone like me and where I am and this platform.”
That could be interpreted as a retort to words B.C. Premier Christy Clark had for Cyrus in response to those Instagram posts.
“If we ever need help with our twerking policy, we’ll go to [Ms. Cyrus],” Clark said according to the Globe and Mail.
On September 17, Pamela Anderson, a B.C. native best-known for a starring role she played on the 1990s television show Baywatch, supported Cyrus’s position with an open letter addressed to the premier.
“We all want to restore the populations of endangered caribou, but gunning down wolves is not the answer,” Anderson wrote. “Hunting is a grossly inefficient method of wildlife control, because more animals will simply move into the less populated area to replace the ones who have been killed.”
On September 19, Clark responded to that letter with remarks aimed at both Anderson and Cyrus.
“There is another thing they have in common,” Clark said according to CTV News. “Both Pamela Anderson and Miley Cyrus, when they open up their closets they probably don’t find a lot of clothes.”
Clark is however not the only B.C. politician who has defended the wolf cull. The province’s lone Green MLA and a renowned climate scientist, Andrew Weaver, surprised many when he spoke in support of the cull last March.
“Without the cull, they’re gone,” Weaver said. “This will give them a fighting chance.”
In an interview with the Straight, Weaver explained he had initially opposed the cull but eventually reversed his position after reviewing information supplied to him by the province.
Cyrus travelled to B.C. with her brother, Braison. They joined up with Mary and John Theberge, who are both B.C.-based biologists; Carl Safina, an American ecologist; plus members of the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais First Nation.
Cyrus recently released an album with psych-rock institution the Flaming Lips, who she also performed alongside at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 30. This year she’s also founded the Happy Hippy Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports LGBT youth.
Cyrus’ album with the Flaming Lips, Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz, is available to stream for free at her website.