Monthly Archives: July 2016

Bear Viewing Today and Always posted by Justice for BC Grizzlies

 

2015 09 05_0715

“ I’m afraid to even breathe.”

This, uttered in the smallest of whispers by a substantially large, typically exuberant Australian fellow sitting next to me in our open skiff, as we quietly bobbed offshore from where a young female Grizzly Bear dined on her stick full of breakfast mussels.

It’s what happens when I view grizzlies on their home range. It makes me want to hold my breath, to keep the spell going; it’s downright intoxicating.

Many people have never seen a grizzly close enough to actually observe their behavior, hear them chew and huff, see them scent the wind and gain a sense of the individuality of these creatures. They look so different from one another in colour, markings, body language and general carriage. They are intensely focused on food, which stands to reason when you consider how much grass, grubs, mice, bark, mushrooms, bulbs, insects, fruit, seeds, carrion and fish (sometimes) it takes to fill a bear’s belly. With plenty of food and no threats, they just go about their business.

Likely, most politicians have never observed a bear in such a way. In fact, the image of grizzlies that they hold may be rooted in misconceptions of fear and misunderstanding. Yet these same politicians are making policy decisions about the fate of grizzlies.

Re-framing mindsets about Grizzly Bears is a service to humanity. Consider this: that magical moment of wanting to whisper in the presence of a grizzly touches part of our brain that soothes the “fight or flight” response and bathes the nervous system with compassion and understanding. We make better decisions in such a state; that’s good for us and good for the grizzlies.

Caring about Grizzly Bears is a window into caring for all of Nature, of which we all are part.

by Valerie Murray for https://JusticeforBCGrizzlies June 21, 2016

Bear Viewing of Olde fr Justice for BC Grizzlies Website

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~~Mahatma Ghandi~~

People have asked me what it is about Grizzly Bears that keeps my passion so strong to end the hunt. At first, the answer seems obvious: why on earth would anyone be in favor of killing an animal for the sport of it? But the drive to do this work goes farther back than that for me. It started with the first Grizzly Bear I ever met when I was a child, growing up in the West End of Vancouver and going with my family to see the bears in Stanley Park. My grandparents managed concessions for the Vancouver Parks Board in the 1940s and 50s. I was in Stanley Park a lot. I especially loved the animals and the trees.

At that time, the bears were in cages, as seen in this photograph taken by my Grandfather. You can see for yourself the appalling conditions endured by the bears in this1953 documentary film showing the animals and curator of Stanley Park zoo at searcharchives.vancouver.ca/on-spot-zoo-story. Even as a child, I could see how wrong it was to confine these animals in such pitiful conditions to be gawked at by visitors. They were at the mercy of unmerciful beings; humans. In 1953, though, the Stanley Park Zoo was still building its display of animals to appeal to a wide audience wanting to experience a bit of “the wild” from a safe distance.

A 1994 referendum to expand the zoo met with strong resident opposition to keeping animals in captivity and the zoo was shut down in 1996. It was a decision that bears out a belief that when we know better, we do better. At least, we hope so.

Now the bear viewing industry thrives in BC but what a different philosophy it cultivates!

By Valerie Murray and taken from: https://justiceforbcgrizzlies.com/2016/06/21/blog-post-title-4/

Grizzly Bear Hunt Should be an Election Issue, Times Colonist July 3,2016

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/search-results-7.2864?q=grizzly+hunt+should+be+election+issue

Letter to the Editor: Grizzly bear hunt should be an election issue by Val Murray and Barb Murray  July 3, 2017

The trophy killing of grizzly bears is an embarrassment to B.C. It hurts us all, environmentally, morally and economically. It should be stopped.

Thousands of tourists are drawn to grizzly bear-viewing that is now worth up to 10 times more than grizzly hunting in the province. The Commercial Bear Viewing Association reports more than 60 bear-viewing operations in B.C. that are at, or close to, capacity because of their inability to expand into hunted populations.

Increasingly, international travel agents will not send clients to B.C. lodges where grizzly hunting is also supported, and ecotourists are often dismayed that B.C. grizzlies can still legally be killed twice a year. This mixed message can’t help but tarnish B.C.’s branding as a natural wilderness destination, and it jeopardizes millions of dollars in bear-viewing income.

Grizzlies that are hunted become wary and fearful, thus more difficult to view in their natural settings. And the truth is, all grizzly hunting is really trophy hunting.

The consensus is that grizzly meat is unhealthy with bacteria, is distasteful and is only good for heavily spiced jerky, sausage or pepperoni. Bears are generally hunted for their heads, paws and hides, leaving behind an eerily humanoid carcass; a travesty.

The auditor general’s investigation into B.C.’s approach to grizzly-bear management is timely. Estimates of grizzly bear populations are speculative at best, ranging from 6,000 (conservation science) to 15,000 (government science). That’s a huge gap in number models.

B.C. does not have a stand-alone law to protect species and ecosystems at risk. Grizzly bears are already blue-listed in B.C. and are, according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, a species of special concern, due to their extreme sensitivity to human intrusion. These bears are wide-ranging omnivores that require widely varied habitats and clear movement corridors in order to forage and find suitable mates.

Habitat loss and fragmentation pose large threats to their viability, but it is human hunting, poaching and conflict kills that are major causes of mortality. Female bears are mistakenly killed at least 30 per cent of the time and a female bear killed in the spring hunt might leave tiny cubs to perish. True bear mortality rates might be much higher than reported.

Grizzly bears are a keystone species that entire ecosystems depend upon for spreading seeds and nutrients throughout their entire range. They have one of the lowest reproductive rates of all North American land mammals, and populations are slow to recover when numbers fall. They have been eliminated from about half of their historical range since the mid-1800s and their largest population now is here in B.C.

Yet each year, the B.C. government sells about 1,800 trophy-hunting licences, and each year, about 300 grizzlies are killed within this system.

The government states that bear viewing and bear killing can co-exist because there are “enough” grizzlies to go around. It’s just not so. For one thing, grizzly viewing has to shut down in locations where grizzly killing is occurring.

In the past 10 years, research into the behaviour and biology of this remarkable species has proliferated through the dedicated efforts of conservation and First Nations groups. This highly intelligent, individualistic bear is believed by some biologists to have an intelligence on par with primates. What value system could possibly justify killing them, based on any numbers, even if those numbers were accurate?

The developed world is becoming savvy to ecological justice — killing bears for sport is an anachronism.

Why does the B.C. government continue to approve the trophy hunt of grizzly bears when it is less economically viable than viewing, violates First Nations law, is contrary to the values of most B.C. citizens and is an unethical action toward a sentient creature?

The answer is elusive: vested interests, lobbying influence, a frontier outlook on human-animal relations or an emotionally charged issue that politicians, and some citizens, might be loath to wade into.

Grizzly killing happens out of view for most of us, but we should all care.

We pledge to do everything we can to raise the grizzly hunt high on political platforms leading up to the 2017 provincial election.

Val Murray of Victoria and Barb Murray of Nanoose Bay, both retired from educational roles, are full-time bear advocates. For more information, go to justiceforbcgrizzlies.com.

Join our letter-writing campaign …

Letters from concerned citizens to politicians, editors or other stakeholders really do get noticed. They can be emailed, so there are lots of them clogging inboxes, or they can be sent surface mail. You can keep it short, e.g.:

I am a concerned citizen of voting age who is appalled that Grizzly Bears are killed in BC. I want it to stop. It cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever.

If you want to add more to your letter, feel free to draw on this Op-ed piece written by Val and Barb, printed in the Times Colonist, Victoria, July 3/16.

** PLEASE CC justiceforbcgrizzlies@telus.net on each letter that you email or send so that we can track our “concerned citizens” and their actions. All information will be kept strictly confidential. Thank you so much! **

~~ We will stay in touch and keep you informed ~~

Some addresses and emails for politicians below:

Honourable Christy Clark, Premier
West Annex – Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4
premier@gov.bc.ca

Mr. John Horgan
Leader, New Democrat Official Opposition
Room 201 – Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4
john.horgan.MLA@leg.bc.ca

Honourable Shirley Bond
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
Room 138 – Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4
shirley.bond.MLA@leg.bc.ca

Honourable Steve Thomson
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations
Room 248 – Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4
steve.thomson.MLA@leg.bc.ca

Andrew Weaver, MLA
219 – 3930 Shelbourne St.
Victoria, BC
V8P 5P6
andrew.weaver.MLA@leg.bc.ca

 

 

NEW Website Launched: Justice for BC Grizzlies

AmberGrizzlySpring'16

Please check out our NEW Website Launched July 3, 2016

https://justiceforbcgrizzlies.com

Vision: Unite BC voters to end the killing of Grizzly Bears in this province.

Mission Statement: We are BC voters speaking up for Grizzly Bears who are still being legally killed. Our grassroots movement pulls together people from around the province who are outraged that these hunts persist in spite of public opposition to them. We want the grizzly hunt to be a priority issue in the 2017 election.

Dear British Columbians,

Those of you who would like to join in our campaign can reach us thru this email: justiceforbcgrizzlies@telus.net  or website: https://justiceforbcgrizzlies.com or
https://www.facebook.com/JusticeforBCGrizzlies/ or https://twitter.com/Justice4BCGrizz

Thank You!

Barb and Val

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