Grizzly bear population at risk as B.C. Liberal government aligns with trophy hunters

Photo of Premier Christy Clark at 2012 GOABC convention from Facebook. GOABC president Mark Werner, left, and executive director Scott Ellis, right.
 
By Claire Hume Jan.27’15 Vancouver Observer
 
Third in a series investigating B.C.’s trophy hunt. Read part one and two for the whole story. 

Dressed in a black cowboy hat, B.C. Premier Christy Clark beams at the camera as she accepts the President’s Award from the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. The year is 2012, and the outfitters are gathered for their annual convention in Kelowna. Clark has just announced new regulatory changes to benefit the hunting guides, and was cheered by the audience. 

“So awesome to have Premier Clark in attendance and noting her support for HUNTING and the role of hunters as conservationists and as the original eco-tourism promoters in B.C.!” a commenter gushed on the Guide Outfitters’ Association (GOABC) Facebook page. 

Representing 245 outfitters, GOABC is one of the key proponents of ongoing trophy hunting of grizzly bears. Its members constitute a tiny minority of B.C.’s population, but carry significant weight with the provincial Liberal government. 

Like Canada’s polar bears, B.C.’s grizzly bears have been listed as a “species of special concern” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Unlike their Arctic cousins, though, grizzly bears don’t qualify for federally legislated conservation measures — despite the fact that B.C. grizzly numbers have dropped from an estimated 35,000 grizzlies in 1915 to possibly as low as six thousand today — and have become a coveted prize for trophy hunters

Read Full Article at: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/grizzly-bear-population-risk-bc-liberal-government-aligns-trophy-hunters 

Please sign and share Petition to Protect Grizzly Bears by Banning the Trophy Hunt in BC https://www.change.org/p/protect-grizzly-bears-by-banning-the-trophy-hunt-in-bc

Action Alert: Save BC Wolves from Aerial Killing:Pacific Wild Petitioning B.C. Liberals Premier Christy Clark

BC Government Is getting Ready to Slaughter 180 Wolves over next two months

BC Government Is getting Ready to Slaughter 180 Wolves over next two months

This petition will be delivered to:

B.C. Liberals:Premier Christy Clark,Minister of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource,Hon. Steve Thomson,B.C. Minister of the Environment,Hon. Mary Polak, Green Party Leader,Elizabeth May

Assistant Deputy Minister – Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations,Tom Ethier Conservation Director, Pacific Wild,Ian McAllister

Save B.C. Wolves!

Pacific Wild Denny Island, B.C., Canada

January 15, 2015

B.C. Government green-lights controversial wolf hunt in the South Selkirk and South Peace regions. As many as 184 wolves to be shot from helicopters.

Decades of habitat destruction and human encroachment have left BC’s mountain caribou on the edge of survival. Instead of protecting critical food and habitat for caribou, such as the lichen rich interior forests, the BC government has now placed the blame on wolves. Over 180 wolves are now being targeted for aerial killing in the next two months. These highly social and intelligent animals, icons of our natural heritage, should not be killed because of government negligence. Killing all the wolves in BC won’t bring the caribou back in the absence of habitat protection.

Wolves are highly social and intelligent animals and research shows that predator kill programs increase reproductive rates in wolves and destabilizes pack structure causing more predation of livestock and other non-native prey.

It is the view of Pacific Wild that this announcement is scientifically unsound and that wolves are being used as a scapegoat to divert attention from the fundamental problem of ongoing habitat destruction and displacement caused by human encroachment.

“This is not management, it’s a tax-payer funded kill program of one of our most iconic species.” said Ian McAllister, Conservation Director for Pacific Wild.  “This is not only a horrific day for wolves in British Columbia but a sad day for public engagement and policy that will surely bring international condemnation to our borders.”

*(PLEASE NOTE you are NOT donating to Pacific Wild when asked  after you have signed the petition – you are donating to change.org) 

Please consider DONATING to Pacific Wild’s Save BC Wolves Indiegogo campaign here.
Learn more and support the campaign to end the wolf kill and educate the public about this issue.

Go to: www.pacificwild.org to learn more and take action

Share through social media: @pacificwild #saveBCwolves

Connect with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

Contact Pacific Wild: info@pacificwild.org

Pacific Wild is a B.C. based non-profit wildlife conservation organization and a leading advocate for changes to wolf management in British Columbia.   www.pacificwild.org

LETTER TO

B.C. Liberals Premier Christy Clark

Minister of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Hon. Steve Thomson

B.C. Minister of the Environment Hon. Mary Polak

and 3 others

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May

Assistant Deputy Minister – Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Tom Ethier

Conservation Director, Pacific Wild Ian McAllister

Save B.C. Wolves!

Honourable Minister Steve Thomson 
Honourable Minister Mary Polak
Assistant Deputy Minister Tom Ethier

Read more 

RECENT UPDATES

PETITION UPDATE

Save BC Wolves Campaign

Jan 23, 2015 — British Columbia Wolf Kill Update

Thank you for signing the petition supporting an end to the wolf kill in B.C. We have reached 80,000 names in just a few short days – a truly… Read more

CLICK HERE to support Save B.C. Wolves

Stop the wolf kill, stand up for B.C. wolves. | Crowdfunding is a democratic way to support the fundraising needs of your community. Make a contribution today!

HTTP://WWW.INDIEGOGO.COM

36

BC’S MOUNTAIN CARIBOU RECOVERY PLAN FAILING DISASTROUSLY says Valhalla Wilderness Watch

Valhalla Wilderness Watch              

P.O. Box 335, New Denver, British Columbia  V0G 1S0
Phone:  250-358-2610; wildernesswatch@netidea.com

 PRESS RELEASE

January 21, 2015  

 Slaughtering wolves from helicopters, transplanting healthy animals to areas that little viable habitat left, where they are quickly killed by predators: some of our smallest and most endangered herds of Mountain Caribou are receiving intensive efforts to boost their numbers. Brutal or desperate, hotly protested or widely lauded, these quick fixes create an appearance of vigorous action to save the caribou; but they are disguising the widespread failure of BC’s Recovery Plan — and the equal failure of the BC Government to correct the fatal sellouts that have compromised the Plan. 

 

Even our larger subpopulations that started out with a much greater chance of surviving have been declining rapidly. These areas still have unprotected intact habitat that could be protected, and they have serious problems with snowmobiles and heli-skiing in critical winter feeding grounds — so there are options for extending and improving the Recovery Plan other than blasting away at wolves from the air; but they are largely being ignored.
 
When the Plan was announced in 2008, BC had an estimated 1,885 Mountain Caribou. (1) The stated goal was to increase caribou numbers to 2,500 within 20 years; but today, with more than one-third of the time passed, the government says there are only about 1,500 caribou left. (2)
 
One recent, shocking indicator of the failure of the Recovery Plan is the decline of the Central Selkirk herd by 40% in 2012 and 2014. This subpopulation had been stable for ten years. The government census report says that scientists do not know the cause of the losses, “However displacement of caribou from preferred habitat by recreational activities remains a major concern.” (3)
 
Another crash is happening in the Wells Gray-North Thompson unit. In this unit the Groundhog caribou population dropped by 74% in a three-year period between 2008 and 2011, from 23 animals down to 6 (4); and over all the Wells Gray-North Thompson unit, which includes the Groundhog, caribou have apparently declined by at least 40% from 2007 to the present.
 
According to the habitat scientists, the Wells Gray Thompson Planning Unit had 274 caribou in 2007 (5), but the 2011 census for this unit could only find 172 animals. And that’s where the public information stops. There is abundant evidence that some of these losses may be due to heavy snowmobile use in the North Thomson area.
 
The Recovery Plan’s farcical Snowmobile Management Agreements (SMA’s) allow snowmobile clubs to develop plans to voluntarily stay out of caribou habitat and monitor themselves. This program has miserably failed.  In the North Thompson area snowmobile trespasses into closure zones have been recorded in the Foam Creek Snowmobile Mtn. Caribou Ungulate Winter Range, and the North Blue River Valley closure zone. Government scientists have extensive documentation of snowmobile trespasses in the South Purcells (6) and other planning units, yet the political level of government is turning a blind eye.
 
In the North Thompson area, the government is even permitting the snowmobile clubs to maintain groomed snowmobile trails that give wolves easy access to critical caribou habitat in an SMA area. (7) Yet the public has been locked out of these internal decisions that continue to erode the taxpayer-funded Recovery Plan.
 
Faced with these facts, the government hides behind how many gross hectares land it has protected in habitat reserves for the caribou (2.2 million), and how many hectares are “off-limits” to snowmobiles (one million). These figures are very misleading, since most of the 2.2 million hectares is old protection predating the Recovery Plan, and there is very little new protection for the habitat type that’s presently being destroyed and thereby causing the caribou to decline: old-growth low- and mid-elevation forest on gentle slopes. 

 

There are three park proposals in the Mountain Caribou range that would provide substantial habitat support: the Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park Proposal, the proposed Quesnel Lake Wilderness, and the Walker Wilderness proposal near Prince George.  But under the current Recovery Plan, the government has never protected even one park in the region of any substantial size.
 
Regarding the snowmobile closures, a government map shows that extensive areas recommended by government scientists for closure were left open (8). Field assessments by Valhalla Wilderness Watch chairperson, Craig Pettitt, have determined that in some cases, the caribou’s winter habitat was split up between the caribou and the snowmobiles, with the snowmobiles getting the best caribou habitat, and the caribou expected to use steep areas where the snowmobiles can’t go.
 
The Recovery Plan took some laudable steps forward, but almost every aspect of it has been hollowed out by numerous concessions to vested interests. Mountain Caribou are tragically disappearing, and the government is shamelessly using wolves as a scapegoat for what it hasn’t done to protect the caribou.
 
Contact persons:  Craig Pettitt, 250-358-7997, Anne Sherrod, 250-358-2610
 
 
(1)  Ministry of Environment, Mountain Caribou Implementation Plan, February, 2009.
 
(2)  Vancouver Sun, January 5, 2015, “Maternity penning offers hope for mountain caribou.”
 
(3)  Ministry of Environment, “2014 Mountain Caribou Census: Central Selkirk Mountains”:  “Displacement of caribou from preferred habitat by recreational disturbance has long been a concern in many areas. In particular, the Great Northern Mountain / Mohawk Creek area, the majority of Silvercup Ridge, and the Silent Pass area. These areas contain suitable but unused late winter habitat that is heavily used by snowmobilers and/or snowcat operators and / or heli ski operators.
 
(4)  Surgenor, J., 2011. Mountain Caribou Census for Wells Gray South Subpopulation.
 
(5)  Local Habitat Team, 2007Mountain Caribou Population Recovery Initiative Wells Gray   
      Thompson Local Habitat Team Report to Directors, December 17, 2007.
 
(6)  Ministry of Environment, “Winter Recreational Activities in Mountain Caribou Habitat: 2007-2010 Monitoring and Compliance”.
 
(7)  Photo and further details available. From the Foam Creek parking lot north of Avola in the North Thompson River valley, over 60 km of twelve foot wide roadway is groomed after every major snowfall, right through critical caribou habitat and up onto subalpine terrain that have in the past been prime occupied caribou habitat.
 
(8)  Harding, Lee, “Southern Mountain Caribou Critical Habitat: A reviews of maps and data to support recovery plans”, March 18, 2014.

Guide outfitter industry prioritized over the needs of BC hunters by MLA Andrew Weaver

Victoria, B.C. The Government of British Columbia’s recent decision to prioritize the guide outfitting industry over the interests of resident British Columbia hunters is directly contrary to the public interest says Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and Deputy Leader of the BC Green Party.

On December 10th, 2014 the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations released his decision concerning how hunting licenses would be allocated between industry and British Columbians.

Contrary to the established Wildlife Allocation Policy, and the consultation process that developed it, this new decision allocated a massive increase in the proportion of licenses available to industry. This means that BC hunters, many of whom hunt for sustenance, may go without licenses this year.

“What we are seeing is the needs of industry being placed ahead of the needs of British Columbia residents,” said Andrew Weaver. “Last spring we had legislation passed that allowed guide outfitting operations to be owned by a foreign corporations, and now the government is supporting this industry on the backs of British Columbians.”

In February 2013, the government introduced the Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Statutes Amendment Act, 2014, which overhauled guide outfitting in BC. Importantly, it removed the requirement that a guide outfit can only be owned by a citizen of British Columbia, opening up the possibly that guide outfitters are owned and operated by corporations from other countries.

Since the legislation passed, government has maintained a focus on advancing the interests of this industry without mention of how it will affect BC hunters. In his June 2014 mandate letter, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations was directed to “continue to work with BC Guides and Outfitters and other back country operators to ensure continued access and business certainty to Crown land and provide economic and tourism opportunities in rural British Columbia.”

“There are over 100,000 British Columbia residents who hunt each year, a number that has been growing over time,” said Andrew Weaver. “This government needs to halt their current approach to wildlife management and ensure that it is British Columbians who benefit from their policies.”

“I fail to see why they are advancing the interests of this industry ahead of the interests of British Columbians,” said Andrew Weaver.

-30-

Media Contact
Mat Wright – Press Secretary, Andrew Weaver MLA
Mat.Wright@leg.bc.ca
Cell: 1 250 216 3382

Bears Matter Note: Please go to my webpage and take action today. Write letters to local editors, write MLA’s and Premier Clark, Minister Thomson etc…http://bearmatters.com/petition-to-ban-trophy-killing-of-grizzlies/  Go to Facebook Page “Stop Grizzly Killing” and Like..and Share. The B.C. government must be held accountable for protecting our wildife and not let business interests win above all else!

 

Trophy hunters decimate bears in BC Valley under “abysmal” policy. Abe Dougan only Bear Guide in the Upper Pitt!

First in a series investigating B.C.’s trophy hunt. As public servants and their critics debate the justifications of the hunt, we start with a story of bears caught in the political crossfire. by Claire Hume Jan 15th, 2015

 

Abe Dougan, hunting guide with Big Boar Outfitters, and a dead black bear. Image sourced from Bigboaroutfitters.com

Abe Dougan, hunting guide with Big Boar Outfitters, and a dead black bear. Image sourced from Bigboaroutfitters.com

The Pitt River community is small. There is a muddy logging camp, a fishing lodge, a few private homes. The area, 60 kilometres from Vancouver, is so wild it is often compared to Alaska by visiting anglers. 

The area is inaccessible by road: getting there requires an hour-long boat trip to the mouth of the Upper Pitt River. Even this is a slow route that requires navigating the fallen trees that float ominously below the surface.

Until recently, grizzlies and black bears have thrived against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, steep rocky cliffs, and rushing water, feasting on the seasonal runs of sockeye, coho and chinook salmon.

Here in this quiet valley, the failures of one of B.C.’s most controversial wildlife policies come into sharp focus. The management of bears has long been contentious, but the provincial government argues the species can withstand the pressure brought by foreign hunters.

But the apparent eradication of bears in the Pitt River Valley by a single guide, hunting within his legal limit, suggests otherwise.

This series examines the background forces shaping environmental management in B.C. As public servants and their critics debate, we start with a story of bears caught in the political crossfire.

Bears once a common sight in Pitt River Valley

read more: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/trophy-hunters-decimate-bears-bc-valley-under-abysmal-policy?page=0,0 

Bears Matter Note: Please go to my Petition Site http://bearmatters.com/petition-to-ban-trophy-killing-of-grizzlies/  to learn more about Trophy Hunting of Grizzlies and Black Bears in BC.  After reading this article please write letters to the editor of your local newspapers, write MLA’s, write Premier Clark and share this particular story with as many people as possible. If the gov’t can’t manage our black bears how can we trust them to manage our ‘threatened’ grizzlies? Also you can ‘Like’ facebook page ‘Stop the Grizzly Killing’ and share.  Thank you  Barb at Bears Matter

 

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