Author Archives: Barb Murray

BC Yanks Job Ad Asking People If They Want to Tranquilize Bears for Money

The British Columbia government has yanked a recruitment ad for conservation officers that promises a chance to “tranquilize a grizzly bear” and get paid to “be up close and personal” with the iconic creatures.

The ad featuring a member of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) posing with an unconscious bear cub in his arms — was posted to the COS Facebook page on Nov. 14, edited, and removed on Dec. 5 when National Observer started asking questions about it. It reads, in part:

“Want to tranquilize a grizzly bear? Have you ever wanted to be up close and personal with a live grizzly and get paid for doing it? Well now’s your chance. You could be the next BC Conservation Officer who responds to human wildlife conflicts keeping our communities safe.”

The COS is the province’s primary wildlife safety provider. COS officers are charged with natural resource law enforcement, and human wildlife conflict prevention and response.

Animal advocates outraged

The ad sought to recruit new members, but promptly sparked outrage from environmental and animal welfare advocates, who said it glorified shooting bears, resembled a trophy hunting photo and deliberately targeted recreational hunters. They voiced their concerns in a letter to the B.C. government last week. The province has not responded to them.

In an emailed statement to National Observer, the B.C. Ministry of Environment said the COS recognizes “that the image in the Facebook post can be distressing to some people.” It removed the ad, but emphasized that the grizzly cub featured in the photo was tranquilized, and the photo provided a “realistic glimpse to this part of the job.” The bear cub was brought to a rehabilitation centre and later released into the wild.

Tranquilized or not, the bear ad “sends all the wrong messages” for an organization whose focus is preservation and protection, Lesley Fox, executive director of the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals (APFA) said in an interview.

Conservation Officer Service, British Columbia, grizzly bears, trophy hunt
In this B.C. Conservation Officer Service job posting, administrators ask the public if they “want to tranquilize a bear” — a way of advertising that sparked some controversy among environmentalists and animal welfare advocates. National Observer was able to screenshot the Facebook post before it was removed by administration
Accused of promoting ‘gun culture’

According to B.C. government estimates, upwards 700 black bears are killed by conservation officers annually throughout the province. This year, nearly 500 bears were killed due to conflict with humans, 27 of which were grizzlies.

The COS is a taxpayer-funded agency, and to imply in an ad that officers can get paid to discharge weapons — regardless of what they’re armed with — is inconsistent “with public trust for armed officials,” said Fox. Like cops, conservation officers have badges and firearms that kill, but unlike cops, they are not regulated by the Police Act. The agency’s regulatory oversight is internal and it has no independent review board.

“I would argue, lethal or non-lethal, you’re promoting shooting,” said Fox. “The emphasis is on gun culture… It’s really alarming to post in a public forum so casually.”

The grizzly bear is a contentious animal in B.C., where for decades, hunters have been permitted to kill them for sport. The practice was widely condemned throughout the province, but defended and protected by the former B.C. Liberal government, which touted the income brought in from hunting permits and a number of sustainability measures that prevented over-hunting.

NDP banned grizzly trophy hunt

In August however, NDP Premier John Horgan announced an end to trophy hunting B.C.’s grizzly bears, and a total ban on hunting grizzlies in the coastal Great Bear Rainforest. Two months later, Environment Minister George Heyman told The Globe and Mail that his department wants to “restore and increase transparency and public confidence in our ability to protect our natural environment, starting with this iconic species, the grizzly bear.”

Asked if the “Want to Tranquilize a Grizzly Bear?” ad contradicted this provincial message, both the Ministry of Environment, which oversees the COS, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, which oversees the implementation of the trophy hunting ban, declined to comment.

The environment department also declined to confirm whether the ad targets, or could be perceived to target, hunters as potential recruits, or whether hunting experience is valued in the COS hiring process.

“Each recruitment post on Facebook is designed to give prospective applicants an idea of the broad range of responsibilities of a conservation officer,” said its statement. “Part of the evaluation process for prospective employees includes ensuring values align with the role of a conservation officer – a desire to protect B.C.’s environment, and fish and wildlife resources, is essential.”

Fox alleged there’s a conflict of interest when recreational hunters become conservation officers, as it places the care of B.C.’s wildlife in the hands of those who kill animals as a pastime.

Jesse Zeman, director of fish and wildlife restoration at the BC Wildlife Federation, however, said hunters care deeply for the environment and are a natural fit for the COS. Zeman is a hunter himself and wrote his undergraduate thesis on hunter intentions and motivations.

While it could indeed disturb a bear lover, he said the Facebook post does not appear to target hunters, who would not find ‘tranquilization’ appealing.

“That’s not the message they’re trying to deliver. I think they’re trying to show that the job is not all about dispatching wildlife,” he told National Observer. “I do feel like certainly the conservation officers that I talk to certainly feel a lot of scrutiny around what they do and how they do it. Euthanizing wildlife is not why they get into the job and it’s not what they like doing.”

A Grizzly Controversy by Maureen-Rae Chute

Here is a summary of a report written two decades ago by Dionys deLeeuw, a Senior Habitat Protection Biologist with the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks in Terrace:  http://www3.telus.net/public/a6a46571/bcerart/Vol8/agrizzly.htm

In 2017 have things changed within the COS for the better since this article was written? Societal values have definitely changed and more emphasis is on ‘wildlife conservation and habitat protection’ – Bears Matter

A Grizzly Controversy

What has been suggested for years by opponents of grizzly bear trophy hunting – that wildlife officials who hunt should not also be in charge of management decisions affecting their target species – has now been said by someone from within the government’s own ranks. Dionys deLeeuw, a Senior Habitat Protection Biologist with the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks in Terrace has charged in a self-published report titled Conflicts and Interests, Grizzly Bear Hunting in B.C., that a conflict of interest is apparent within the ranks of wildlife branch officials, the majority of which, he says, are licenced hunters. In serving the interests of hunters through the continued authorization of limited-entry hunting of grizzly bears, a species designated as “vulnerable,” these managers also directly serve their own self-interests, an argument which he goes into great detail to build in the 34-page report that has garnered criticism from the hunting community, but has yet to draw any official response from the government.

deLeeuw applies the definitions of “self interest” to the context of wildlife protection explaining that a wildlife professional is expected to work to protect the interests of the animals for their own sake and not for their use by humans. “Professionals who view animals as game, generally manage them to satisfy sporting interests for those who hunt and fish, including themselves.” Unfortunately, his claim is supported only by anecdotal information and unofficial staff surveys which he says reveal that an estimated 70-80 percent of wildlife branch staff are licensed hunters. Restrictions to Freedom of Information Act requests make it virtually impossible to verify his claim.

This weakness aside, de Leeuw is nevertheless able to build a convincing argument by demonstrating how the majority of wildlife management decisions to date have benefited a minority of the province’s population, hunters, who make up a mere 1 percent of B.C. residents, according to recent polls.

His survey of Habitat Conservation Fund initiatives from 1986-1996, reveal that 70 percent of the studies and projects initiated over this period were devoted to game species, while only 10 percent dealt with non-game species. Another review of Wildlife Branch publications from 1935 to 1995 revealed that 77 percent were devoted entirely to game species, and only 7 percent to non-game. “If my review of projects and technical reports is any indication, then about 75 to 80 percent of all fish and wildlife management is devoted to maintaining or furthering the interests of anglers and hunters.”

Directing his arguments specifically to the grizzly bear, de Leeuw suggests that wildlife managers, acting on their own self-interest as members of the hunting community, continue to allow sport hunting of the bear because they see it as fundamental to maintaining all rights to hunt. “The grizzly bear (sic) is not just any animal. It occupies the unfortunate but prestigious position of being at the very apex of all hunting. To remove grizzly bears from the traditional repertoire of hunters, is to pluck an ultimate trophy animal out of their sport.” Quoting from a report titled the Sociological and Ethical Considerations of Black Bear Hunting (Thomas D.I. Beck et.al), he contends that hunters perceive a ban on grizzly bear hunting as merely the thin edge of the wedge. “It is precisely for this reason that government protection of grizzly bear hunting brings the issue of self and conflict of interest clearly into sharp focus,” states de Leeuw. “Such a move would, in effect, be perceived as jeopardizing the stronghold hunters have had in government to control and influence management of all public wildlife resources for their own selective use.”

de Leeuw’s report has added a whole new dimension to the debate over the sport hunt of grizzlies. While he echoes groups like Bear Watch, The Grizzly Project and Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society in calling for a ban on the sport hunt of grizzly bears based on biological and ethical factors accounting for their designation as a “vulnerable” species, it is his unique insights as a professional biologist and long-time employee with the ministry that lends further credence to the debate.

“We feel it is a really powerful document,” says Eric Donnely of Bear Watch whose press release on the report issued in July helped push de Leeuw’s report into the mainstream press. But Donnely doubts whether the government would be prepared to apply a conflict of interest investigation to an entire department. “They wouldn’t know where to start.” Instead, Donnely suggests the reports value rests in its ability to bring to light a major imbalance in the representation of hunting interests versus non-hunting interests of wildlife. “There are benefits to having hunters in management simply because they have access to and dialogue with other hunters. But the representation seems to be biased heavily towards them.”

For a copy of the report, Conflicts and Interests, Grizzly Bear Hunting in B.C., contact: Bear Watch, 604-730-6081, fax 730-6092, email bears@bearwatch.org

Maureen Rae-Chute

Link

November 29, 2017

Dear Premier Horgan et al,

We are writing to file a public service complaint regarding the operational and
recruitment (or hiring) practices of the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS).

We assert that a clear conflict of interest is present within the COS, its hiring practices,
and its operational policies. This identified conflict has created a significant risk to our
environment and the wildlife in this province for decades. We ask the Premier’s Office to
direct the Public Service Agency to conduct a review of the mandate, role,
organizational culture, and operational policies of the COS and to take immediate action
to correct these identified deficiencies.

Over the past sixteen years, honesty, integrity and accountability in Government were
bankrupted by the previous regime. Election 2017, we gave the NDP our trust, our
votes, and a mandate to bring about proactive change in the governance of British
Columbia.

In this letter, we will:
1. Demonstrate why there needs to be a review of the Conservation Officer Service
policies and mandate, including the need for the formalizing of ethics policies for public
servants that are involved in looking after wildlife in the wild, and in the wildlife’s
interface with communities.

2. Identify and address the public’s failing trust in the Conservation Officer service,
and what needs to be done to build trust in policies, education, and enforcement.

3. Address the fact that many Conservation Officers are hunters / trophy hunters, and
what this means to the public’s trust / lack of trust in the ability of COs to make decisions
with impartiality.

4. Ask for the independent oversight of the Conservation Officer Service just like
police have independent review boards in place.

5. Recommendations / solutions for the “conservation” of wildlife including preventative
education, wildlife laws with teeth, and proactive enforcement of laws, that apply to all
British Columbians.
Concerns

In a recent publication titled ‘In Defence of a Fallen King’, former BC Conservation
Officer Bryce Casavant wrote that he has personal knowledge of conservation officers
tranquilizing grizzly bear cubs, taking trophy photos, and then killing them quietly off site
out of the public’s eye
http://www.brycecasavant.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/UPDATED-In-Defence-of-a-Fallen-King-formal-submission-2.pdf. The paper alludes to the need for a review of the
conservation officer program, calls for an ethics guideline for public servants involved in
wildlife management, and raises the issue of taxpayers funding the current model that
we have described.

The Conservation Officer Service recently posted a recruitment advertisement: https:// www.facebook.com/ConservationOfficerService/photos/a. 282020058506219.61904.282011641840394/1808079409233602/?type=3&theater
that reinforces the following concerns:

1. The Conservation Officer Service field operations is largely staffed by licensed
hunters, members of the BC Wildlife Federation, and in some cases, trophy hunters.

2. There is no independent oversight of this agency. Although it operates as a police
department, it is not accountable under the Police Act and it has no independent board
overseeing its operations and policy development.

3. Officers who are licensed hunters are afforded the opportunity to hunt for work
irrespective of closed seasons, permits, and licensing requirements. They benefit
personally (getting to hunt all year for work) and financially (they don’t have to purchase
licences or abide by standard laws) from their employment. This situation creates an
inherent bias and conflict of interest when responding to human-wildlife conflicts. It is
not reasonable to think that a licensed hunter, whose passion is killing wildlife, can
separate his hobby from his job and the need for him/her to maintain at least the
perception of impartiality as required by the BC public service code of conduct.
Therefore, the BC public service code of conduct is not being met.

4. Many examples illustrate a complete lack of “conservation”, education, or proactive
community policing, in combination with neighbourhood bears and their cubs being
killed , leaves the public completely distrustful:

See https://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/05/10/news/bear-cub-rehab-option-killedbc- conservation-office, or comments on social media such as “No one respects our
conservation officers and they are the biggest disgrace in BC for the slaughter they and
the RCMP do to our wildlife. So busy killing and making up lame excuses they have
forgotten how to conserve. Stop hiring hunters and get people who want to save our
wildlife.”

With the public’s lack of trust in the operational and hiring practices, there is great
concern regarding the Conservation Officer Service being placed in charge of “policing”
any new regulations regarding hunting, that the new government may develop.

5. The take-away message in the recruitment post:  https://www.facebook.com/ ConservationOfficerService/photos/a. 282020058506219.61904.282011641840394/1808079409233602/?type=3&theater
is that if you want to shoot wildlife for a job, you should join the Conservation Officer
Service. The fact that the agency believes it is okay to present this “message” to the
public, is exactly why the service mandate needs to be reviewed. There is no
messaging about actual conservation, rehabilitation, preventative education, coexistence,
or proactive community policing/outreach. It’s about shooting and killing (i.e.,
hunting) wildlife for work. This is the problem, and it has clearly created widespread
mistrust in the service’s ability to perform its mandate with a reasonable expectation of
impartiality and unbiased decision-making.

6. In almost every case where wildlife, particularly bears—both black bears and
grizzlies—are killed by a CO, the situation has been caused or exacerbated by
individuals or companies that are in contravention of the Wildlife Act because they have
not managed specific attractants. Yet very few tickets are handed out. Enforcement by
COs is almost nonexistent. Public education on the law is one of the primary
responsibilities of the COS, yet most of it is done by volunteers or low-paid employees
of a variety of community-based agencies. The primary reason given by government is
that there are far too few COs in BC to do this work. In order to be effective, the COS
needs to be properly funded by government specifically to do this public education and
enforcement work. Public safety is a direct result of public education, and public safety
is often the reason given for killing wildlife.

Supporting Information

In specific reference to the recruitment advertisement, the language used (“Want to
tranquillize a Grizzly Bear? Have you ever wanted to be up close and personal with a
live grizzly bear and get paid for doing it? Well now’s your chance. You could be the
next BC Conservation Officer who responds to human wildlife conflicts keeping our
communities safe.”) is not conducive to recruiting personnel whose primary concern is
conservation of wildlife. This is the juvenile, self-aggrandizing “sales” slang of an agency
that has lost touch with its conservation mandate.
In addition to these callous words, which clearly demonstrate the COS intends to
pander to a hunting audience, there is the accompanying photo of a CO holding a
grizzly bear cub mimicking those displayed by trophy hunters (This photo shares an
uncanny resemblance to the one in MOE 2017-73290).

One only has to look at the FaceBook profile pages of those who have been tagged in
the comment section to understand who the COS is pandering to. Most are hunters.
For more photos of Conservation Officers posing with their “trophies”, see: http:// www.westerncanadiangamewarden.com/S2012Phantom.html
A “story” of the “glory” of 2 COs:   https://www.outdoorlife.com/articles/jon-farley/2007/09/ phantom-hungry-hill
Outdoor Life a hunting magazine   https://www.outdoorlife.com
glorifying the killing of a bear by COs, (and more than 1 bear was killed on “Hungry Hill”,
according to some locals.

While this bear was in someone’s home, who was really responsible? Do you think
images like this help the reputation of hunters / COs? http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ british-columbia/grizzly-bear-shot-dead-inside-kimberley-home-1.3185310
“65% more bears killed by COs on Vancouver Island but complaints down.” That’s not
surprising, given the discussion in this letter.. ie no one wants to report wildlife being in
their area but more bears are killed anyway, by COs.   http://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/ number-of-bears-killed-by-b-c-conservation-officers-up-65-per-cent-this-year-1.3600502
As an agency, the COS professes integrity by stating, “Integrity. We maintain the
public’s confidence and trust by acting with sincerity and transparency.” However, their
recruitment ad demonstrates quite the contrary and is in violation of the code of conduct
for BC public servants for the reasons described above https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/ content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/human-wildlife-conflict
In the Globe and Mail on 24 October 2017, Environment and Climate Change Minister
George Heyman publicly stated, “We want to restore and increase transparency and
public confidence in our ability to protect our natural environment, starting with this
iconic species, the grizzly bear, that is so important to so many British Columbians.” The
nature of the aforementioned recruitment ad on the COS Facebook page will hardlyallay the public’s fears.

To the contrary, the public’s trust in the agency has been
decreasing for many years. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s
ability to protect grizzly bears, especially during this time with the very contentious
grizzly bear hunting issues on the table, is being undermined by the very officers sworn
to protect them (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/habitat-loss-nothunting- main-threat-to-grizzly-bears-auditor-general-says/article36710111/).
Further, as Casavant said in his introduction to To Conserve and Protect:
Talking about public trust and how wildlife enforcement in British Columbia is conducted
and perceived isn’t always simple, but it is an integral part to ensuring our democratic
values are upheld.
http://(http://www.brycecasavant.ca/2017/10/27/discussion-starter-conserve-protect/)
Bears are paying for poor guidelines and practices, with their lives (500 bears killed by
Conservation Officers in BC so far in 2017).

“Conservation” Officers who may themselves be hunters and/or trophy hunters, are
going to police the proposed regulations that the new BC government says will “close
the loopholes” on grizzly bear hunting. We believe this constitutes a conflict of interest.
Further examples of the COS’ organizational culture are displayed within various
publicly available information links. For example, if you watch the YouTube link https:// youtu.be/WG6u-xEsx1k, you will see wildlife trophies on the wall behind the officer in
the Conservation Officer Service office . Another example can be found in a blog where
the same CO expresses his interests as: “fishing, hunting and trapping” (https:// fernie.com/blog/2012/11/joe-caravetta-receives-queens-diamond-jubilee-medal/).

When the COS mandate on the BC government website includes the words “prevent
dangerous wildlife from entering our communities and becoming a public safety
concern,” we are reminded of similar statements made by those who hunt grizzly bears.
It is not the wildlife that is dangerous, but the people who are leaving out attractants and
endangering their communities. A CO’s job is the proactive, preventative policing of
these issues, not strictly the reactive killing of wildlife because they like to hunt for work.
The recruitment ad on the COS Facebook page very clearly demonstrates the toxic
culture of killing within the agency, and a lack of respect for wildlife. As the new
government of our Super Natural British Columbia has said, “It’s time for change.”

Recommendations:

In the election campaign, BC NDP said it would create COS jobs and put more of these
“boots on the ground.” Regardless of if these “promises” hold true or not, the mounting
kill stories (as reported by the Vancouver Sun in multiple articles this year) blatantly
illustrate that the new government must immediately address the conservation officer
program. Our immediate concerns/recommendation are the following:

1) Amend BC’s Wildlife Act to promote commercial/residential attractant audits;
mandatory preventative attractant management; abolish attractant loopholes for any
British Columbian and any business in British Columbia; and enforce/increase monetary
penalties Section 33.1 & 88.1 directly applied to either:

a) property taxes
b) ICBC insurance premiums or BC vehicle licensing
c) MSP “tax”
d) or other efficient/effective method TBA

2) Immediately change the curriculum of COS training such that successful graduates,
i.e., Officers, can finally understand and responsibly communicate the critically different
behavioural definitions for the following:

a) “habituated” and
b) “food-conditioned”
Additionally, mandatory psychological screening and PTSD counselling should be made
available for the safety of the officers and the roles they play in the community, as
occurs in other policing agencies.

3) Educate and enforce prevention of loose, roaming dogs harassing/abusing bears
(Section 78 BC Wildlife Act), while “baiting” cougar and wolf predation/conflict into
wilderness interface neighbourhoods/communities.

4) Provide independent oversight just like a police board (maybe the environmental
appeal board?) and demolish the organizational structures that are empowering an
agency that is, in our opinion, a Corrupt Organization of Shooters. Cease being a
reactive model that ensures wildlife conflict and reprehensible kill numbers, to a
responsible, proactive, preventative ‘enforcement’ agency http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/ content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/ human-wildlife-conflict

5) “Recommend that a special conflict of interest or ethics guideline/policy be developed
for public servants engaged with work on the grizzly bear file or in the development of
formal BC policy on this issue. Public servants or consultants with a conflict identified
under this new policy should be excused from the file, or subjected to a performance
review of their conflict, in order to maintain public trust and confidence in the process.”
per Bryce Casavant’s suggestions in” In Defense of a Fallen King”

Mr. Jefferson Bray’s letter follows, in which he shares specific incidents that
demonstrate why we are asking the Premier’s Office to direct the Public Service Agency
to conduct a review of the mandate, role, organizational culture, and operational policies
of the COS and to take immediate action to correct our identified deficiencies outlined in
this letter.

Yours truly,
Trish & Eric Boyum
Barb Murray – Bears Matter
Jefferson Bray

November 29, 2017

Dear Premier Horgan et al,

My name is Jefferson Bray. I am a signatory to the recently filed public service complaint to your
office.

As described within that complaint, I am providing further details pertaining to the Bella
Coola Valley and the conduct of the Conservation Officer Service. I consider this letter a part of
the complaint filed on November 29, 2017 and signed by Eric and Trish Boyum, Barb Murray –
Bears Matter and myself. I have attached photos of incidents that have occurred here, and
serve as examples of situations that still remain unresolved in this community, are known to the
COS, and that have resulted in bear deaths. I have provided my conclusion and necessary
recommendations.

I have been a resident of British Columbia for over forty years. I have made my home in the
Bella Coola Valley for the past fourteen. The attitude displayed in the examples provided, and
by many COS officers, is not that of a professional armed law enforcement service, but rather, a
rouge agency that is not accountable for its actions. Based on multiple interactions that I have
personally had with officers, I know that many officers ‘react’ to calls/situations by tracking and
killing wildlife. Indeed, the complaint that accompanies this additional supporting information and signed by others, reflects the true organizational attitude within the COS and an abusive
empowerment killing culture. This allegation is re-enforced by the fact that non-natural attractant laws are rarely enforced by the officers in this community (even after a bear has been killed).

A COS Officer stood in my driveway and told me that fines for offences under Section 33.1 of the BC Wildlife Act aren’t enforced/collected by the Province.

In the attached photographs you will note a female grizzly bear (her single cub was bawling at
the base of the tree) in an unprotected, fruit-laden apple tree that was one of a few that lined the private property boundary adjacent to the Hagensborg fuel/service station “Mecham’s”.
Unprotected fruit trees e.g. cherry (Spring), plum, pear and apple (Fall) illegally “bait” bears into
conflict. The COS has been aware of this for decades and fail to act – refusing to enforce the law
(Section 33.1 & Section 88.1 BC Wildlife Act) that is the foundation for their employed existence.
And Bella Coola Valley has had a “bear working group” for years, represented by MOE Human-
Wildlife Conflict Mike Badry, COS, WildlSafeBC, yet only afforded a part-time Conservation
Officer. Illegally “food-conditioned” bears are executed annually, while any “untrained” eye can
drive the 60 odd kilometres along Highway 20 (@80 km/h), performing a pseudo non-natural
attractant audit, identifying unprotected livestock and fruit trees from South Tweedsmuir to Bella Coola.

Recommendations

BC NDP and BC Liberals stated they would create jobs and put more “boots on the
ground” (Election 2017 campaign statements to increase the number of Conservation Officers in BC). Regardless of whether these “promises” hold true or not, these mounting kill stories
blatantly illustrate that our new NDP Government must immediately address the following
reprehensible failings of the Conservation Officer program1) Amend the BC Wildlife Act to promote commercial/residential attractant audits; mandatory
preventative attractant management; abolish attractant loopholes for various labels, or subsections of peoples e.g. ”farmers” and First Nations, because bears/‘dangerous wildlife’ don’t
care what ethnicity, race, religion, gender, hobby, or form of employment is responsible for the
illegal “baiting” – irresponsible human behaviour is irresponsible human behaviour); and enforce/increase monetary penalties Section 33.1 & 88.1 directly applied to either:
i) property taxes
ii) ICBC insurance premiums
iii) MSP “tax”iv) or other efficient/effective method TBA

2) Immediately change the curriculum of COS training such that successful graduates, i.e.
Officers, can finally understand, and responsibly communicate the critically different behavioural definitions for the following:
i) “habituated” and
ii) “food-conditioned”
iii) Understand bear physiology (and corresponding behaviour), their natural ‘attraction’ to
introduced i.e. non-native fruit orchards, vineyards, carrot patches, etc.https://phys.org/news/2017-08-kodiak-elderberries-salmon-climate.html

3) Educate and enforce prevention of loose, roaming dogs harassing/abusing bears (Section 78
BC Wildlife Act), while “baiting” cougar and wolf predation/conflict into wilderness interface
neighbourhoods/communities.

4) Provide independent oversight just like a police board (maybe the environmental appeals
board?) and demolish the organization structures that are empowering an agency that is, in my
opinion, a Corrupt Organization of Shooters. Cease being a reactive model that ensures wildlife
conflict and indefensible kill numbers, to a responsible, proactive, preventative ‘enforcement’
agency. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/ human-wildlife-conflict

Based on my own experiences with Conservation Officers, many of whom are licensed hunters
and/or trophy hunters, I would like to know, does an Officer who kills animals for a living, ever
receive counselling, or a 5-year psychiatric check-up like police do? If not, why not?

There exists within this agency, a repetitive pattern of dereliction of duty under the own policy
and mandate. Under the guise of ‘conservation’, a reactive, “toothless” enforcement agency,
that does not enforce preventative attractant management Sections of the BC Wildlife Act – the
foundation of conservation law, but instead kills for convenience of cost/effort, and protection
from potential Provincial liability claims. The uniforms, the badges, the laws, the mantra
“Integrity, Service and Protection” are intended to represent a higher moral authority for the
safety and betterment of our communities and British Columbia’s natural environs. This corrupt,destructive model is the antithesis of that.

Yours truly,
Jefferson Bray

Male grizzly killed by COS as a result of predation on unprotected calves (no e-fencing) in Spring.

Typical September morning Hwy 20, less than 100 metres from SAM Secondary school entrance – grizzly “applesauce” scat (size 10 shoe).

September, approximately midday Hagensborg service station “Mecham’s”. Grizzly mother and cub of the year (at base of unprotected apple tree).

November 29, 2017 example photos along Hwy 20 – a non-native sweet cherry tree 9 metres from the highway double yellow centre line, and a fruit laden, unprotected apple tree.

 

Trump Postpones Decision on Allowing Import of Elephant Parts

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/17/trump-elephant-parts-import-zimbabwe

Friday 17 November 2017 21.36 EST

Amid backlash over move to end ban, president says he will delay administration action ‘until such time as I review all conservation facts’

GuardianElephant

Donald Trump said that he would delay his administration’s decision to allow the importing of elephant body parts from Zimbabwe “until such time as I review all conservation facts” in a tweet Friday evening.
The postponement came just one day after the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) indicated that it would reverse an Obama administration ban on importing elephant hunting trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The agency said Thursday that the decision “will help protect wild elephants for future generations” because the money generated by US big-game hunters seeking trophies helps fund conservation efforts in many African countries.
Many conservationists opposed the decision, however, arguing that the Trump administration was pandering to big-game hunters.

“I’m shocked and horrified, but this is the road this administration is taking,” the primatologist Jane Goodall told the Guardian on Friday, before Trump’s announcement of the postponement. “One by one, they are undoing every protection for the environment that was put in place by their predecessors.
“It’s very rare that money raised by legal trade in ivory or rhino husks gets out to protect the animals,” Goodall added. “It goes into the pockets of the safari outfits that take the clients, or goes into the hands of corrupt government officials.”
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Goodall cited Trump’s stance on drilling for oil in the Arctic national wildlife refuge and on the listing of endangered species as other areas of concern in his administration’s environmental record.
“President Trump and I have talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical,” Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, said in a statement Friday evening. “As a result, in a manner compliant with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, the issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed.”
Elephant populations in Africa have declined precipitously over the past 15 years, despite crackdowns on poaching and the ivory trade.
The Obama administration implemented the ban on importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe in 2014 due to a lack of information about the status of the country’s population and conservation program. African elephants are protected under the US Endangered Species Act.
On Thursday, FWS said its decision to lift the ban was based on “more than two years of extensive assessments”.
But the agency raised concerns about its motivation by announcing the policy change at the African Wildlife Consultative Forum in Tanzania – an event co-hosted by the hunting rights group Safari Club International (SCI). SCI had joined the National Rifle Association in a court challenge to the 2014 ban. Both groups praised the FWS reversal on Thursday.
Trump’s two adult sons, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, are both big-game hunters. Donald Trump Jr has been photographed with the corpse of a elephant, holding its severed tail in his hand.
Ed Royce of California, the Republican chairman of the House committee on foreign affairs, on Friday criticized the decision to lift the ban, calling it the “wrong move at the wrong time”.
Zimbabwe is in the midst of considerable political upheaval, after the army seized power from 93-year-old Robert Mugabe this week. Mugabe has ruled the country for 37 years.
The Associated Press and Edward Helmore contributed reporting.

Bryce Casavant: Aiming for Change & Grizzly Bear Management & Conservation Officer Service

http://www.brycecasavant.ca/2017/11/01/aiming-change-update-regarding-grizzly-bear-management-bc/

The deadline for the public consultation process on the Grizzly Bear hunt is tomorrow (November 2nd 2017). During the month long window for public comments the Auditor General (AG) released ( see in Bears Matter Blog postings) their audit report pertaining to BC’s management of Grizzly Bears. This blog and the PDF link below,- http://www.brycecasavant.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/In-Defence-of-a-Fallen-King-formal-submission.-1.pdf are my submissions to the MFLNRORD public consultation process regarding Grizzly Bear management.

The PDF file referenced below is an updated version of my previous work In Defence of a Fallen King which was written as a submission to the AG during her investigation. The update includes my thoughts on two points raised within the AG report, and maintains my critique of BC’s so called “scientific review” under the previous government administration.

The two points that I will focus on are, 1) the independence of internal reviews conducted by consultants, and 2) the Conservation Officer Service and its relationship to species conservation. Within this update I reference my recently released essay To Conserve and Protect and provide a preliminary look at a soon to be released technical report pertaining to public confidence levels and wildlife law enforcement in BC. Some main take away points from this update are:

I recommend that a special conflict of interest or ethics guideline/policy be developed for public servants engaged with work on the grizzly bear file or in the development of formal BC policy on this issue.
I maintain that providing additional funding and officers into the current COS model is not advisable due to internal cultural issues and processes which I addressed in my recent essay To Conserve and Protect.
I argue that the model of the COS needs to change before overall public confidence can be increased and maintained.
I contend that it is not realistic to think that an officer who is a licensed hunter, and in some cases a trophy hunter himself/herself, can avoid a reasonable apprehension of bias when deciding to kill a grizzly bear.
In reference to the BCCOS involved in funding allocation to WildSafe BC – I posit that from a law enforcement and integrity perspective, it is problematic to have armed officers that are licensed hunters, in some cases trophy hunters, who are also members of the BCWF and overseeing/making recommendations for government funding to BCWF wildlife programs and their affiliates. This, in my view, is a conflict of interest for law enforcement. For this reason, I would recommend an independent panel be responsible for directing, monitoring, and assessing/evaluating the programs that the government funds. The COS should not be responsible or involved.
In the final portion of my update I state that my soon to be released report, Law Gone Wild, will show that 1 in 5 British Columbians will have an interaction with either the COS or RCMP over a wildlife concern, some of these interactions will be grizzly bears. I will argue that the fact 20% of the BC population is involved in calling enforcement agencies for wildlife issues means that public trust in 20% of the BC population can be influenced by a single officer’s actions, at a single moment in time, and when handling a single animal. All managers and politicians should take this fact very seriously. The public’s confidence in the agency and officer’s responding is paramount to the maintenance of overall public trust.
As always, I’m only an email away. Bryce@BryceCasavant.ca

Contact: Bryce J. Casavant, CMAS, MA

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are my own and do not reflect the views of the BC Public Service or its ministries.

Bryce Casavant is a Senior Compliance and Enforcement Specialist with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development. He is a former BC Conservation Officer and Special Provincial Constable. Bryce is a decorated military veteran and Doctoral Candidate at Royal Roads University’s Doctor of Social Sciences Program. His research focus is on public trust and wildlife policing in BC. Bryce was a candidate for the New Democratic Party in the 2017 BC Provincial Elections.

References: PDF In Defence of a Fallen King updated 2017

 

Auditor General’s Report Reveals Grizzly Bear Management Under FLNR Has Failed, by VWS Society

October 30, 2017 TMTVNews.com

by VWS.org

http://bctvkootenays.com/2017/10/30/auditor-generals-report-reveals-grizzly-bear-management-under-the-ministry-of-forests-has-failed/

Recently BC’s Auditor General (AG) reported a plethora of problems in the management of BC’s grizzly bears.
(Submitted by the Valhalla Wilderness Society) The report says the problems were caused by a shift of wildlife management responsibilities from the Ministry of Environment (MOE) to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources (FLNRO) that occurred in 2011. According to the Auditor General’s report, “MFLNRO has most of the authority to make decisions that impact grizzly bear populations and habitat, leaving MOE with limited powers to carry out its mandate to manage and protect.”

“This was a gross betrayal of grizzly bears and all BC wildlife”, says VWS biologist Wayne McCrory, a former member of the past government Grizzly Bear Scientific Advisory Committee. “It is an apparent conflict of interest for FLNRO, which destroys habitat for grizzly bears by maintaining high rates of logging, pushing logging roads into wilderness areas, and degrading fish streams.”
Long before this transfer of power in 2011, the Ministry of Environment began to be stripped of much of its staff and funding. The findings of the Auditor General include a 1995 Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy that has never had a management plan attached to it, and thus, has no definitive procedures for implementation. A strategy for conducting population inventories and monitoring is touted on the internet, but is not used and has no funding.

FLNRO determines the number of grizzly bears that can be killed by hunters each year, yet the audit found a number of problems with the way this is calculated. The auditors at least expected that MFLNRO would be monitoring and evaluating forest development plans for their impacts on grizzly bears, but it wasn’t doing that either. Grizzly bears tend to disappear from roaded areas due to hunter access and increased human conflicts, as well as poaching. There are 600,000 kilometres of resource roads in the province, expanding by approximately 10,000 km a year, often without the necessary grizzly bear population figures or habitat inventory.
The 2017 audit notes that BC has failed to implement some recommendations of a 2010 audit on biodiversity. The 2010 report stated: “it was apparent that the conservation of biodiversity will become more at risk in the future due to the inadequate connectivity of parks and protected areas.” According to the recent report: “there has been little effort to address the issue of connectivity for grizzly bears….”

“The worst impact on wildlife was the past government’s almost 20-year failure to create large, fully protected, permanent parks, other than in the Great Bear Rainforest,” says Craig Pettitt, a director of VWS. “In the interior, the Valhalla Wilderness Society’s Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park Proposal would protect connectivity corridors between three existing parks. It contains prime grizzly bear habitat, grizzly bear viewing businesses and 29 severely endangered mountain caribou; it has had the benefit of numerous scientific studies, and has minimal resource conflicts.
Reversing the damage done by years of mismanagement of wildlife will require the new government to restore full responsibility for the Ministry of Environment Act and the Wildlife Act to the Ministry of Environment, with sufficient resources to do the job well. Secondly, BC urgently needs a dramatic increase in the percentage of fully protected areas.