Nanaimo’s Lakeside Gardens Fundraiser for Bears Matter, April 28, 2015

Lakeside Gardens

MIND*BODY*SPIRIT* HEALTH & WELLNESS FAIR

Sales of Warm Buddy Products go to help 8 Bear Organizations.

Sales of Warm Buddy Products go to help 8 Bear Organizations.

In Support of Bears Matter

WHEN: TUESDAY, APRIL 28  Time: 1– 3PM

WHERE: 4088 Wellesley Ave. Nanaimo

                              Events & Displays

  • WARM BUDDY CO. – Therapeutic Warm-Up Animals & Spa Products

  • MEDICAL CHI-GONG
  • HEALTHY TUNING FORKS
  • AROMATHERAPY OILS – HEALING TOUCH LIVING
  • LAUGHTER YOGA
  • TAPPING FOR WELLNESS
  • NUTRITIONIST

*Event Highlight: Silent Auction featuring 3 original paintings by well-known artists: Jim Court, Sarah Shaw & Margaret Baker

 LakesideGardensArt1LakesideGardensArt2LakesideGardensArt3

          Light refreshments will be served at this Free Event.       

 Please R.S.V.P. (250)756-0799, Limited Seating

Lakeside Gardens

Note: Bears Matter works in partnership with Warm Buddy Company of North Vancouver to help 8 grassroots bear organizations. These organizations specialize in bear rehabilitation, habitat conservation, research & education and much more.

Grizzly bears seen as gold for mining, B.C. gov’t emails reveal Vancouver Observer

Relaxing Grizzlygrouse-grizzly_n3d3306-web

Relaxing grizzly bear. Photo by Andrew S. Wright.

FOI investigation reveals that senior B.C. bureaucrats seized on the province’s rising grizzly bear numbers —disputed by researchers—to “mitigate” the impacts of mining

The Freedom of Information (FOI) released memos were obtained by the Vancouver Observer.

In early 2014, the BC Liberals controversially re-opened the grizzly hunt in two pockets of the province in the Caribou and Kootenay hunting areas. Mining Minister Bill Bennett was also given high-level briefings on January 7 to re-start the trophy hunt, the memos show.

Provincial biologists calculated that grizzlies in the west Chilcotin wilderness were rising by 91 bears over a year prior. So certain bureaucrats appear to have seen that as support for a proposed mine.  

“[By] all accounts there’s a few critters to spare, but my question is whether they might be kept handy to help mitigate a new mine,” wrote Gerry MacDougall, a wildlife manager with the Forests, Lands and Natural Resources ministry, at the time.

“Do you know if anyone connected those dots for [the Minister’s] consideration?” he asked.

Assistant Deputy Minister Richard Manwaring replied: “I don’t know Gerry. It’s an annual [hunting] decision, so we could revisit that for sure if the mine became real I think.” 

An active mine proposal at the time was Taseko’s “New Prosperity” gold-copper project, until it was rejected last year. A federal panel concluded that there “would be a significant adverse cumulative effect on the South Chilcotin grizzly bear population, unless necessary cumulative effects mitigation measures are effectively implemented.”

The mine remains fiercely opposed by the Ts’ilhqot’in Nation, fresh off a Supreme Court land-rights victory.

“Worrisome” use of grizzly data by B.C. government

One grizzly bear policy expert growled at what he sees as the province’s odd use of bears for industrial interests.

“This is very worrisome,” reacted Faisal Moola, a forestry professor at the University of Toronto on Thursday.

“They’re using this contested evidence that grizzly bear numbers are increasing, to justify not only a controversial [hunting] activity that a majority of British Columbians are against, but also to justify resource development in those areas as well.”  

“This shows a real lack of understanding of the science,” he added. 

grizzly hunting open 2014 map regions caribou kootenay

Provincial government map of the two areas opened grizzly hunting in 2014: the Caribou and Kootenay Boundary management areas.  

In response to questions from the Vancouver Observer on Thursday, a Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations spokesperson disputed that the director was using the bears to promote resource development.

“[The] interpretation of this email is inaccurate,” said Bethel. 

Rather, Bethel stated, the wildlife director was inquiring “as to whether other impacts to bear populations (such as habitat disturbance from mining) were also factored into consideration before allowing a Limited Entry Hunt.”  

In other emails discussing how to brief Minister Bennett, the same wildlife director repeated the idea that the alleged uptick in grizzly population numbers could be used as a way to mitigate resource-extraction impacts. 

“If there is a harvestable surplus [of grizzlies] the Minister of Forestry Lands and Natural Resources could consider those to offset the cumulative effects of resource development,” he wrote.

The presumption of a “surplus” of grizzlies is not shared by everyone. Moola, who doubles as a director general with the David Suzuki Foundation, says scientists doubt the government’s bear count, which suggests there are 15,000 grizzlies in B.C.

A recent study by SFU and the University of Victoria found the province’s grizzly count science had a high degree of uncertainty.

 

Read More:

Suzuki: Time to End Grisly Trophy Hunt in BC

Suzuki-Time-to-end-grisly-trophy-hunt

NHL hockey player Clayton Stoner posing with dead grizzly (Coastal Guardian Watchmen) http://commonsensecanadian.ca/suzuki-time-to-end-grisly-trophy-hunt/

Posted March 10, 2015 by Dr. David Suzuki in Species At Risk

Watching grizzly bears catch and eat salmon as they swim upstream to spawn is an unforgettable experience. Many people love to view the wild drama. Some record it with photos or video. But a few want to kill the iconic animals — not to eat, just to put their heads on a wall or coats on a floor.

Foreign hunters bag BC bears

The spring grizzly kill starts April 1 and extends for several weeks, followed by a second fall season. By year’s end, several hundred will have died at the hands of humans, close to 90 per cent shot by trophy hunters — many of them foreign licence-holders, as the B.C. government plans to enact new regulations to allow hunters from outside B.C. to take 40 per cent of grizzlies slated for killing. The government also plans to allow foreign interests and corporations to buy and run guide-outfitting territories previously run only by B.C. residents. Local hunting organizations say the new rules put them at a disadvantage.

Government takes money from hunting lobby

According to the Vancouver Observer, hunting guide associations donated $84,800 to B.C. political parties from 2005 to 2013, 84 per cent to the B.C. Liberals.
In the controversy over regulatory changes, we’ve lost touch with the fact that the grizzly trophy hunt is horrific, regardless of whether bears are killed by resident hunters or big-game hunters who pay thousands of dollars for the chance to kill a bear here — often because it’s illegal in their home countries.

BC’s population in doubt

Grizzlies once roamed much of North America, from Mexico to the Yukon and from the West Coast through the prairies. Habitat loss and overhunting have since shrunk their range by more than half. In Canada, 16 subgroups are on the brink of extinction, including nine in south-central B.C. and Alberta’s entire grizzly population.
Just how many bears reside in B.C. is in dispute. The government claims more than 15,000 grizzlies live here, but Raincoast Conservation Foundation science director Chris Darimont, a University of Victoria conservation biologist, puts the number closer to the government’s earlier estimate of 6,600 — before it doubled that in 1990 based on a single study in southeastern B.C.’s Flathead area.

Government scientist’s work suppressed

According to a Maclean’s article, in 2000, the government “suppressed the work of one of its own biologists, Dionys de Leeuw, for suggesting the hunt was excessive and could be pushing the bears to extinction. De Leeuw was later suspended without pay for having pursued the line of inquiry.” The government then pursued a five-year legal battle with groups including Raincoast Conservation and Ecojustice to keep its grizzly kill data sealed.
Allan Thornton, president of the British Environmental Investigation Agency, which has studied B.C. grizzly management since the late 1990s, is blunt about the government’s justification. “The British Columbia wildlife department does not use rigorous science,” he told the Vancouver Observer. In 2004, the European Union banned imports of all B.C. grizzly parts into member countries after its analysis found the hunt to be unsustainable.

Business case questioned

Even the economic case is shaky. Studies by the Centre for Responsible Travel and Raincoast Conservation conclude revenue from bear-viewing is far higher than revenue from grizzly hunting.

Grizzlies play important ecological role

Grizzly population health is an indicator of overall ecosystem health, and bears are important to functioning ecosystems. They help regulate prey such as deer and elk, maintain forest health by dispersing seeds and aerating soil as they dig for food, and fertilize coastal forests by dragging salmon carcasses into the woods. Hunting isn’t the only threat. Habitat loss, decreasing salmon runs, collisions with vehicles and other conflicts with humans also endanger grizzlies. Because they have low reproduction rates, they’re highly susceptible to population decline. Hunting is one threat we can easily control.

First Nations, citizens oppose hunt

According to polls, almost 90 per cent of B.C. residents oppose hunting grizzlies for trophies, including many Frist Nations and food hunters. Scientists say it’s unsustainable. The Coastal First Nations coalition has banned grizzly hunting in its territories, but the government doesn’t recognize the ban. The Raincoast Conservation Foundation has bought hunting licences in an attempt to reduce bear kills on the coast.
Simply put, most British Columbians — and Canadians — are against the grizzly trophy hunt. It’s time for the government to listen to the majority rather than industry donors and ban this barbaric and unsustainable practice.
Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

Please sign and share Petition: https://www.change.org/p/protect-grizzly-bears-by-banning-the-trophy-hunt-in-bc  More Actions: http://pacificwild.org/site/take_action/trophy-hunt-campaign.html 

 

 

Save B.C. Wolves – Open Letter to the B.C. Government

Pacific Wild
Denny Island, B.C., Canada

Feb 25, 2015 — Go to www.pacificwild.org to take action and go to https://www.change.org/p/save-b-c-wolves 

OVER SIXTY CANADIAN AND INTERNATIONAL SIGNATORIES VOICE OPPOSITION TO THE B.C. WOLF KILL IN AN OPEN LETTER TO THE B.C. GOVERNMENT  (note: 16 new signators added since Open Letter sent to Premier Feb 25, 2015)

‘B.C. Government scapegoats wolves for its failure to protect caribou habitat’

OPEN LETTER
February 25, 2015

Dear Honourable Premier Clark,

The undersigned conservation organizations and concerned citizens oppose the ongoing inhumane slaughter of wolves by helicopter in the South Selkirk Mountains and the South Peace region. We demand that this killing be immediately halted and that the cost of this slaughter ($575,000) to BC taxpayers be put towards caribou habitat protection. 

Your government’s claim that killing wolves will save these caribou populations has no scientific basis as proven by the failure of BC’s wolf “reduction” programs, involving the sterilization, killing, trapping and/or poisoning of wolves. For years, these programs have failed to halt the decline in imperiled caribou populations. Killing more wolves will not miraculously save the caribou.

The caribou populations are declining because for decades your government has failed to adequately protect their habitat. In the Selkirk Mountains, the caribou population has crashed because of logging in addition to snowmobilers, heli-skiers and cat-skiers scaring them off their critical winter feeding grounds. In the South Peace, critical caribou habitat has been destroyed and fragmented by logging, oil and gas development, access roads and coal mines. Recreational users and industrial development can increase wolf populations and their access to caribou, however, studies of wolves in BC and Alberta show that wolves prefer deer to caribou and that the greatest stressor to caribou is human activity. Years of scientific studies have also proven that mountain caribou require large areas of intact wilderness habitat to survive.

We, the undersigned, therefore join our voices with more than 173,400 persons who have signed the #SaveBCWolves petition, and call on the BC government: 

• to immediately halt the ongoing inhumane aerial wolf slaughter;

• to develop caribou recovery plans in line with procedures for identifying critical habitat under the federal Species at Risk Act. These plans should include the creation of large intact protected areas in high and low elevation habitat that are off limit to logging, resource extraction and recreational users with buffer zones where minimal industrial or recreational human encroachment is permitted; 

• to ensure the recovery plans are implemented through a transparent and open process, including the publication of annual reports compiled by government scientists and peer-reviewed by independent conservation experts; 

• to increase the immediate protection of the 18 surviving caribou in the Selkirk Mountains by enforcing all snowmobile closures recommended by government scientists, excluding overlapping heli- and cat-ski tenures from protected caribou habitat and its buffer zones and prosecuting trespassers. Ongoing Snowmobile Management Agreements negotiations with snowmobile clubs should be open to public review and comment. 

Sincerely,

See List of Signators 

CC. 
Honorable Mary Polak, M.L.A., Minister of Environment, ENV.Minister@gov.bc.ca 
Tel: 250 387-1187
Honorable Steve Thomson, M.L.A., Minister of Forestry, Lands and Natural Resource Operations FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca 
Tel: 250 387-6240
Honorable Bill Bennett, M.L.A., Minister of Energy and MinesMEM.Minister@gov.bc.ca 
Tel: 250 387-5896

Sixty-Two Signators to Open Letter to Premier Clark

Canadian Non-Profit Organizations (5)

Animal Alliance of Canada, Ont’90
Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Ont
Bear With Us Sanctuary, Mike McIntosh, Ont’92
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, Ont’65 
Coyote Watch Canada, Ont’08

British Columbia Non-Profit Organizations (17)

Bears Matter, Barb Murray, BC’06
Clayoquot Action Society, BC, ‘13 
Friends of Clayoquot Sound, BC’ 79
Friends of Nemaiah Valley, BC’00
Friends Uniting for Nature Society, BC ‘08
Lifeforce Foundation, Peter Hamilton , BC’81
Pacific Wild Alliance, BC’06

Pacific Northwest Collective, BC’14

Purcell Alliance for Wilderness, BC
Save the Cedar League, BC 
Sierra Club BC,’75
Silva Forest Foundation, BC’92 
Standup4Greatbear, Norm Hann, BC
Valhalla Wilderness Society, BC’75
Wilderness Committee, BC’80
Wolf Awareness Incorporated, BC’87
Yellowhead Ecological Association, BC’71 

USA and International Non-Organizations (10)

Animals Asia, China/UK’98
Change for Animals Foundation, UK
Eastern Coyote/Coywolf Research,MA, USA’07 
IFAW- International Fund for Animal Welfare,Ont ’69 
National Wolfwatcher Coalition, MN, USA
N. American Wolf Foundation ( Wolf Hollow),MA USA’88
Predator Defense, OR, USA’90 
Spectacled Bear Conservation Society-Peru, BC’2007 
Wolf Conservation Centre, NY’99
Zoocheck, Ont’84

Canadian Businesses and Individuals (30) 

Aboriginal Journeys Whales and Grizzly Bear Tours, BC 
Applied Conservation GIS, Baden Cross, BC
Behavioral & Enviro Solutions, Biologist, Else Poulsen, Ont
Bluewater Adventures Ltd.,BC
Brian Brett, Poet and Novelist, BC 
Charlie Russell, Bear Specialist and Author, AB 
Ellie Archer, Wildlife Viewing Guide, BC
Evelyn Kirkcaldy, Wildlife Artist, BC
Dr. Faisal Moola, PhD – Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto; Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Toronto
Great Bear Chalet, BC 
Grizzly Bear Ranch, BC 
Holly Arntzen, Conservationist, Musician, BC
John E. Marriott Wildlife and Nature Photography, AB 
Kootenay Reflections, Jim Lawrence, Photographer, BC
Dr. Lorna Crozier, Professor Emerita, OC, BC 
Maple Leaf Adventures, Kevin Smith, BC
Mark Leiren – Young, Author, Journalist and Playwright, BC 
Natural Art Images, Brad Hill – Photographer, BC
Ocean Adventures Charter Co Ltd., BC
Ocean Light II Adventures Ltd., BC
Dr. Patrick Lane, D. Letters, OC, BC
Dr. Paul Paquet, Wildlife Biologist, AB 
Remote Passages Marine Excursions, BC
Robert Bateman, Artist, BC
Ross Peterson, Retired Biologist, BC
Steve Williamson Photography, BC
Susan Musgrave, Masset, Haida Gwaii, BC
Sylvia Dolson, B.C. Animal Welfare Advocate, BC
Watershed Sentinel, BC
Wayne P. McCrory, RPBio, BC

Signators Signed After First Open Letter Sent Feb 25, 2015 (16)

David Polster, M.Sc., R.P.Bio, Ecologist, BC

Genevieve Singleton, Nature Interpreter, BC

Mothership Adventures, BC

Peggy Sowklen, DVM, Artists for Conservation, BC

Vicky Husband, CM, OBC, BC

World Animal Protection Canada, Ont’50 (formerly WSPA)

International Animal Rescue, UK

California Wolf Center, CA

Endangered Species Coalition,DC

Epic-Environmental Protection Information Center, CA

Klamath Forest Alliance, CA

Malcolm R. MacPherson, Ph.D.Retired Scientist, NM

Northeast Wolf Coalition, MA

Watershed Watch Salmon Society, BC

Western Wildlife Conservancy, UT

Wildlands Network. WA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Guardian Watchmen confront armed trophy hunters to save grizzlies

“Sometimes it gets nasty,” said Jason Moody, a patroller from Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola.http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/coastal-guardian-watchmen-confront-armed-trophy-hunters-save-grizzlies 
Coastal Guardian Watchmen Grizzly bear hunt
 
Coastal Guardian Watchmen on the lookout for trophy hunters on the Great Bear Rainforest coast in 2010. Photo by Doug Neasloss with Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation.

Patrolling up and down British Columbia’s coast with binoculars are a group of dedicated First Nations volunteers that boat right up to armed hunters, often American, in their vessels to dissuade them from killing at-risk grizzlies just for sport. 

Called the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, they urge unsuspecting trophy hunters to halt their pursuit of grizzlies as insensitive to First Nations culture, and against tribal law.  

“Sometimes it gets nasty,” said Jason Moody, a patroller from Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola.

“Sometimes you get [trophy hunters] realizing, ‘OK, you guys don’t want the hunting around here. We’ll go somewhere else.’”

Foreign hunters from places like Virginia and Texas pay thousands of dollars to come to B.C.—to be in one of the few places left where the fourth-largest carnivore on the planet can be shot for a trophy head or a bear rug.  

Many trophy hunters don’t like the altercations with the now 16 native patrollers on the coast.

“It gets tense. Usually just having a presence is enough,” says William Housty, who chairs the Heltisiuk First Nation resource management office in Bella Bella, and coordinates many of the indigenous watchmen.

Housty’s biggest worry is intoxicated hunters harming his crews that double as field researchers, quietly collecting grizzly-hair DNA in the woods.

“If there are drunk hunters walking around drinking Jack Daniels — who is to say they won’t shoot one our researchers. That’s one of our biggest beefs with the province,” he said.

The Guardian Watchmen do not have the legal powers to board vessels or enforce conservation laws, but they wish they did. Provincial officers, the Coast Guard and the RCMP are not seen often enough, said Housty.  

And many hunters they come across are not carrying provincial licences. 

“A lot of the people who come up here don’t actually have tags. They’re poachers,” said Housty.

The wildlife manager recalled an infamous incident in 2013 when NHL player Clayton Stoner let some coastal watchmen on board the famous hockey player’s boat to photograph the defencemen’s recent grizzly kill.  

NHL Clayton Stoner grizzly beheaded

NHL defenceman Clayton Stoner posing with a beheaded grizzly in 2013.  Photo by Coastal Guardian Watchmen.

The head and claws were removed, and Stoner smiled for the watchmen’s photo snaps that would soon become national news material.

“He let himself be an idiot poster child for the trophy hunt,” laughed Housty.   

Stoner defended his bear kill at the time.

“I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting licence through a British Columbia limited-entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my licence while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May,” the hockey star said in a statement. 

But since that media spectacle, many watchmen admit they’ve only been partly successful in slowing the trophy hunt.   

The Guide Outfitters Association says as long as it is kept legal by the B.C. government, their members will continue flying in high-paying hunting clients to kill grizzlies. 

“While we try to accommodate [aboriginal] wishes, but until they have jurisdiction, the authority around it is the Crown,” says the association’s executive director Scott Ellis.  

“Our guys are still going to operate their businesses.” 

But Coastal First Nations are now threatening legal action to put an end to the industry.

NDP and Liberals off-target on grizzly trophy hunt, conservationist says

http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/ndp-and-liberals-target-grizzly-trophy-hunt-conservationist-says 

by Mychaylo Prystupa

Grizzly photo by Andrew Wright in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Grizzly photo by Andrew Wright in the Great Bear Rainforest.

A fierce political squabble this week in the British Columbia legislature over who gets to shoot bears — locals or foreigners — has entirely missed the target about the need to protect at-risk grizzlies, says a long-time conservationist.

“I think the NDP really has missed the mark,” says Brian Falconer with Raincoast Conservation Foundation on Thursday.

 

“The bears don’t care if it’s a guide outfitters’ bullet or a resident hunters’ bullet that goes through its gut.  It’s dead,” he added.

On Monday, the opposition New Democrats fired political shots at B.C. Minister Bill Bennett for an alleged conflict of interest regarding a recent hunting policy decision.  The issue made national headlines.

 

The opposition claims the long-time hunting enthusiast Liberal MLA, who has a habit of lobbing profanities at his hunting critics, should not have sat in on cabinet decisions about the so-called “allocation” of hunting permits.

The background is, the BC government recently changed the percentage of kill licences given to foreigners versus resident hunters in December.  

The change caused an uproar among the thousands of resident hunters represented by the BC Wildlife Federation, who growled at Bennett.

Mining Minister Bennett intervened, but not before colourfully pushing back on Facebook: “Frankly [Natural Resources Minister] Steve doesn’t need the votes to get elected, and I’m not running again, so all the threats don’t mean shit to us.” 

A tweak to the hunting allocation was made Feb.6.  

 

But the NDP says, because Bennett is still owed a $70,000 loan from a guide outfitting business he sold in 2001, he must be in bed with the guide outfitters.

“If the guide outfitters do better [because of the policy shift], would he get his money back?  You start to think about that,” said NDP MLA Katrine Conroy on Thursday.

The opposition even released an e-mail showing Bennett telling ministerial staff he’s been “intimately involved” in allocation decisions.

What’s missed in all this bafflegab, says Falconer, is that 87% of British Columbians polled in 2013 want the trophy hunt stopped altogether — not political battles over who gets to kill, he said.

“All of this bickering is disguising the real issue.  It doesn’t matter if the bear hide ends up on a floor in the Kootenays, or a floor in West Virginia — the grizzly is still dead.”

The Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative has long said the trophy hunt of (white) spirit bears and grizzlies is an affront to their culture, is threatening to a scientifically unknown number of grizzlies, and provides far less economic value than the bear-watching eco businesses.

The BC Wildlife Federation agrees the recent allocation decision was not about the trophy hunt, and that its resident hunters seek the grizzlies for food.

“Many people, including my own family, will eat grizzly meat or black bear meat, or whatever,” said BCWF vice president Jim Glaicar.

“This is about the issue of access for residents of BC and privatizing a public resource,” he added. 

Bears Matter Note: Please sign Letter to Premier Clark to Stop Trophy Killing of Grizzlies! It is unacceptable and unethical to over 87% of British Columbians. It is unscientific and goes against our eco-tourism culture in BC!

https://www.change.org/p/protect-grizzly-bears-by-banning-the-trophy-hunt-in-bc

With files from Jenny Uechi.