Category Archives: Blog

STOP THE COMMERCIAL HUCKLEBERRY HARVEST! Sign Petition

Commercial harvesting of wild huckleberries is happening on a scale we’ve never before seen in the Kootenays. A thousand pounds per day are crossing the US border at Kingsgate.

Thirty-odd commercial pickers are camped out at Yahk, working with special harvesting rakes, and intend to keep the harvest going until frost—and they aren’t the only crew harvesting berries.

Will the threatened Yahk area grizzly bear population struggle to find the 30-60 pounds of berries they need every day to fatten up for the long winter? Will people picking for their own use be out of luck? Currently in BC, there are no regulations on commercial picking of huckleberries. It’s a free for all.

Please join us to call on BC Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Doug Donaldson to ban the commercial harvest now!

Go to Petition to Send Letter to Minister Donaldson http://wildsight.ca/blog/2017/08/17/commercialhuckleberries/

john-bear

culledberries

Mega-buckets-to-be-filled

Wildlife-management reform in British Columbia is long overdue

https://www.raincoast.org/2017/08/wildlife-management-reform-in-british-columbia-is-long-overdue/

Wildlife policies are focused on consumption and control, rather than conservation.

Published on 2017 · 08 · 14 by Chris Genovali & Paul C. Paquet
A grizzly bear on BC Coast stops to face an eagle.
A grizzly bear and an eagle share a stretch of land. Photo by A.S. Wright.

bc-coastal-grizzly-bear-eagle-a.s.wright23

The underpinnings of contemporary wildlife management are political and ideological, largely at the expense of wildlife for the presumed benefit of people.

Unsurprisingly, wildlife management in British Columbia is marked by an outdated mindset that primarily views wild animals as a “resource” to be exploited by recreational hunting or as troublesome creatures that need to be killed because their existence conflicts with human endeavours. Saddled by a myopic adherence to the debunked and inaptly named North American model of wildlife conservation, wildlife policy in B.C. is mired in a philosophically and structurally faulty approach.

Simply, wildlife policies are focused on consumption and control, rather than conservation.

As ethicist Michael Nelson and wildlife ecologists John Vucetich, Paul C. Paquet and Joseph Bump note in their critique, North American Model: What’s Flawed, What’s Missing, What’s Needed, the model’s primary tenet, i.e. recreational hunting being central to wildlife conservation, is based upon an inadequate account of history and an inadequate ethic.

Largely ignoring the biology and intrinsic value of all species, the model reinforces the narrow idea that nature is a commodity — a “resource” — owned and used by humans in pursuit of personal interests. This “management” perspective draws its support from — and sustains — the view that humans exist outside of nature, and that other species, apart from their utility for humans, are of little importance in the larger scheme of things. Human dominion and domination over nature are deemed to be the natural order.

Predominantly driven by a recreational hunting agenda, the North American model is informed largely by values, attitudes and atavistic beliefs entrenched in the self-serving fallacy that killing wild animals for sport and control is essential to wildlife conservation.

Wildlife policies are focused on consumption and control, rather than conservation. Tweet This!
As explained in the critique, the model relies on a misinterpretation of history in which recreational hunting is disproportionately, and inaccurately, seen as the driver of North American wildlife conservation, while downplaying the contributions of monumental figures such as John Muir and Aldo Leopold, who pioneered broad-based approaches to conservation without focusing on hunting as its primary tool.

The province’s recent proposal to privatize wildlife management illustrates the pernicious effect of the North American model on the mindset of government bureaucrats and politicians. In the run-up to the election, the B.C. Liberals announced plans to implement an extra-governmental agency that would be controlled by recreational hunting groups.

This perverse scheme is the culmination of decades of undue influence by the recreational hunting lobby on the B.C. government; it was also inevitable under the model, where science and ethics are ignored in favour of self-perpetuating myth and anecdote.

With its philosophical roots in the model, the grizzly-bear hunt is an egregious and persistent example of how B.C. wildlife management fails to address ecological, economic and ethical considerations. Using the province’s kill data to determine if B.C.’s grizzly management meets its own objectives, Raincoast Conservation Foundation scientists have found that total kills commonly exceed limits determined by provincial policy. Financial analyses have shown that grizzlies are worth far more alive than dead, and poll after poll indicates a clear majority of British Columbians have judged the recreational hunting of these large carnivores an abhorrent activity.

Wildlife policies in BC flow from an outdated paradigm of dominion and domination. Tweet This!
Considering centuries of human privilege over the needs of the environment, what we need to manage is not wildlife but ourselves. Recognizing that many human activities have damaging effects on biodiversity and ecological communities, what should wildlife management in B.C. look like?

Briefly, Raincoast envisions a compassionate conservation policy based on management for wildlife, as opposed to management of wildlife — a policy that takes into account the health and well-being of individuals and populations. Furthermore, we envision substantially more consideration given to maintaining the integrity of ecological systems upon which species depend.

Although species might continue to exist and suffer long after natural ecological relationships have been altered or destroyed, such impoverished conditions are not sustainable and do not typify healthy environments. Finally, wildlife management needs to emerge from the shadows and adopt practices in keeping with modern science, as well as principles regarding the ethical treatment of animals.

Without a significant shift in how we relate to and interact with wildlife, future generations will look back with stunned dismay at how our society could be so divorced from reality and morality. The hopeful news in B.C. is that with a new government there is the opportunity for positive change and a much more ecologically and ethically informed approach to wildlife management.

Chris Genovali is executive director of Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Large-carnivore expert Paul C. Paquet is Raincoast’s senior scientist.

This article was first published on August 11, 2017 at the Times Colonist.

Stop the Grizzly Killing Facebook BC- Grizzly Hunt starts Aug.15,2017

STGK PostAug15'17                                                              BC to ban the “Trophy Grizzly Bear Really?
No, Grizzly killing season starts today, August 15, 2017                                                Today the government sanctioned grizzly hunt resumes. Bears will still be killed for bragging rights and trophy photos. This abhorrent behavior will soon be justified by re-branding Grizzlies as food, a ridiculous loophole. Shame on you British Columbia. This is just lipstick on a pig.

Please Like and Share this page: https://www.facebook.com/StoptheGrizzlyKilling

Disserving the Public Trust, The Ethos of State Grizzly Bear Management

June 14, 2016  By David Mattson

Most people are familiar with the term worldview. In academe, scholars such as David Naugle (“Worldview”), Jim Sire (“Naming the Elephant”), and Mark Koltko-Rivera (“The Psychology of Worldviews”) have helpfully summarized the history of this pedigreed concept and its relevance to understanding the human condition. For me, worldview is central to understanding otherwise inexplicable human behaviors—including the verbiage that comes out of most peoples’ mouths.

What is a worldview? Intuitively, one could simply understand it as a “view of the world” that people carry around in their heads. But what does that mean? By all indications, worldview is the portal through which we make meaning of the overwhelming smoosh of sensory experience, which then dictates how we each orient to the world. Worldview is fundamentally semantical and semiotic in nature—configured and represented through internalized stories that we tell about the world and ourselves in it, saturated with emotion-laden icons and symbols. Worldview distills and integrates values, impulses, attractions, fears, and even terrors. Worldviews are typically illogical, incoherent, and resistant to change, largely because they are so intertwined with our identities and social networks. Worldviews are powerful stuff.

But worldviews are not some sort of concrete thing that we can unambiguously measure like we can, for example, the diameter of a tree. Nonetheless, because worldviews so powerfully configure what we say and do, it is actually quite easy to use any number of indices to build a reliable picture of this phenomenon for individuals or communities. Analysis of written texts is one approach. Analysis of repeatedly deployed symbols and images is another. And surveys that elicit peoples’ responses to carefully crafted questions are another yet. All of which is to say that social science does provide a box of tools that allows us to usefully describe worldviews.

Nature-views

Various scholars have gone even further to describe typologies by which we can categorize how people view the natural world and themselves in it—what I call “nature-views.” Academics such as Mike Manfredo and Tara Teel at Colorado State University came up with a relatively straight-forward system comprised of four categories or bins. Steve Kellert of Yale University came up with a more nuanced schematic comprised of between eight and nine categories (see his “Value of Life”). Whatever the typology, a major dimension consistently emerges along which most peoples’ nature-views can be arrayed. At one extreme is a view that nature—and animals therein—is/are to be dominated and used. At the other extreme is a view that emphasizes intimate, aesthetic, even anthropomorphic connections.

And, Again, Grizzly Bears

All of this is relevant to understanding what goes on with state-level management of our wildlife and, in turn, anticipating what will happen to Yellowstone’s grizzly bears if Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections are removed and the bears turned over to the tender mercies of state wildlife managers. And, likewise, relevant to understanding why these managers and the Commissioners who oversee them are frothing at the mouth to start trophy-hunting grizzlies once authority is surrendered to the states by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)—the same people who are seemingly obsessed with power, control, and meting out death (see my essay on Divvying Up the Dead).

In my previous essay of this three-part series I emphasized governance problems in our current management of wildlife by the states, along with the extent to which this management is enslaved to a very narrow demographic (i.e., white guys) and an equally narrow set of special interests organized around hunting—which is to say, killing stuff. But here I emphasize the worldviews that inform the despotic and corrupt system I described.

And, just to be clear, none of what I say should be construed as an interest in doing away with hunting. That is not my intent or motivation. In fact, I’ve spent most of my professional career studying—and admiring—animals that kill stuff. But at the same time, I strongly believe that not all worldviews are equal, nor are the moral and ethical systems embedded in these worldviews equal. Some worldviews and the nature-views therein yield toxic results. Others do not. As simple as that, and to believe otherwise is to descend into a quagmire of relativism that is guaranteed to yield nasty outcomes for humanity.

Nature-views, Hunting, and Carnivores

So, what are the worldviews that motivate the dominant paradigm of wildlife management? A full description of these views would be overwhelming—and diverse they are—so instead I focus here on modalities, dominant themes if you will. The point being that those who are invested in and benefiting from status quo wildlife management adhere in varying degrees to a number of nature-views. But this does not negate the fact that some views are dominant, especially when it comes to driving how state wildlife agencies manage large carnivores including, potentially, our Yellowstone grizzly bears.

I’ll start with one particularly interesting research project that I supervised, undertaken by Liz Ruther, inquiring into peoples’ attitudes towards mountain lions, including their relevant behaviors. We asked a random sample of adults whether they would support various measures to protect or conserve mountain lions, including whether they would support a ban on killing juvenile lions, limit the killing of females, or support measures to conserve important lion habitat. On the behavior front, we asked whether they hunted, had killed a lion, or carried a firearm in the woods for protection—versus nothing at all or a non-lethal deterrent such as pepper spray. But of particular relevance here, we also asked people a number of questions designed to help us explain attitudes and behaviors. In particular, we asked questions that allowed us to score people on the basis of how strongly they adhered to a particular nature-view—among others, a belief in dominating and using nature.

To read more go to: https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/14/disserving-the-public-trust-the-ethos-of-state-grizzly-bear-management/

Times Colonist, Comment: Wildlife-Management Reform is Long Overdue

2015 09 05_0729

TIMES COLONIST AUGUST 11, 2017 http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-wildlife-management-reform-is-long-overdue-1.21795751

The underpinnings of contemporary wildlife management are political and ideological, largely at the expense of wildlife for the presumed benefit of people.

Unsurprisingly, wildlife management in British Columbia is marked by an outdated mindset that primarily views wild animals as a “resource” to be exploited by recreational hunting or as troublesome creatures that need to be killed because their existence conflicts with human endeavours. Saddled by a myopic adherence to the debunked and inaptly named North American model of wildlife conservation, wildlife policy in B.C. is mired in a philosophically and structurally faulty approach.

Simply, wildlife policies are focused on consumption and control, rather than conservation.

As ethicist Michael Nelson and wildlife ecologists John Vucetich, Paul C. Paquet and Joseph Bump note in their critique, North American Model: What’s Flawed, What’s Missing, What’s Needed, the model’s primary tenet, i.e. recreational hunting being central to wildlife conservation, is based upon an inadequate account of history and an inadequate ethic.

Largely ignoring the biology and intrinsic value of all species, the model reinforces the narrow idea that nature is a commodity — a “resource” — owned and used by humans in pursuit of personal interests. This “management” perspective draws its support from — and sustains — the view that humans exist outside of nature, and that other species, apart from their utility for humans, are of little importance in the larger scheme of things. Human dominion and domination over nature are deemed to be the natural order.

Predominantly driven by a recreational hunting agenda, the North American model is informed largely by values, attitudes and atavistic beliefs entrenched in the self-serving fallacy that killing wild animals for sport and control is essential to wildlife conservation.

As explained in the critique, the model relies on a misinterpretation of history in which recreational hunting is disproportionately, and inaccurately, seen as the driver of North American wildlife conservation, while downplaying the contributions of monumental figures such as John Muir and Aldo Leopold, who pioneered broad-based approaches to conservation without focusing on hunting as its primary tool.

The province’s recent proposal to privatize wildlife management illustrates the pernicious effect of the North American model on the mindset of government bureaucrats and politicians. In the run-up to the election, the B.C. Liberals announced plans to implement an extra-governmental agency that would be controlled by recreational hunting groups.

This perverse scheme is the culmination of decades of undue influence by the recreational hunting lobby on the B.C. government; it was also inevitable under the model, where science and ethics are ignored in favour of self-perpetuating myth and anecdote.

With its philosophical roots in the model, the grizzly-bear hunt is an egregious and persistent example of how B.C. wildlife management fails to address ecological, economic and ethical considerations. Using the province’s kill data to determine if B.C.’s grizzly management meets its own objectives, Raincoast Conservation Foundation scientists have found that total kills commonly exceed limits determined by provincial policy. Financial analyses have shown that grizzlies are worth far more alive than dead, and poll after poll indicates a clear majority of British Columbians have judged the recreational hunting of these large carnivores an abhorrent activity.

Considering centuries of human privilege over the needs of the environment, what we need to manage is not wildlife but ourselves. Recognizing that many human activities have damaging effects on biodiversity and ecological communities, what should wildlife management in B.C. look like?

Briefly, Raincoast envisions a compassionate conservation policy based on management for wildlife, as opposed to management of wildlife — a policy that takes into account the health and well-being of individuals and populations. Furthermore, we envision substantially more consideration given to maintaining the integrity of ecological systems upon which species depend.

Although species might continue to exist and suffer long after natural ecological relationships have been altered or destroyed, such impoverished conditions are not sustainable and do not typify healthy environments. Finally, wildlife management needs to emerge from the shadows and adopt practices in keeping with modern science, as well as principles regarding the ethical treatment of animals.

Without a significant shift in how we relate to and interact with wildlife, future generations will look back with stunned dismay at how our society could be so divorced from reality and morality. The hopeful news in B.C. is that with a new government there is the opportunity for positive change and a much more ecologically and ethically informed approach to wildlife management.

Chris Genovali is executive director of Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Large-carnivore expert Paul C. Paquet is Raincoast’s senior scientist. https://www.raincoast.org
© Copyright Times Colonist

 

Bears Matter Letter to Minister Doug Donaldson asking for Cancellation of the 2017 Fall Grizzly Trophy Hunt

bearsmatterlogo

August 6, 2017
Honourable Doug Donaldson
Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations
And Rural Development
Parliament Buildings Victoria, B.C. V8V 1X4

( Readers, Please find email addresses below of persons cc’ed on this letter for your reference)
Dear Minister Donaldson,
re: Cancellation of the 2017 Fall Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunt
I am writing to you on behalf of thousands of concerned citizens of British Columbia, tourists and future tourists who sign our petitions, follow our Anti-Trophy Grizzly Hunt social media pages and write to us directly. I have owned and operated Bears Matter, a non-profit business, since 2006. As a bear advocate I have been concerned with the ethical issues surrounding the grizzly bear trophy hunt since your government’s three-year moratorium was overturned in July 2001 by the incoming Liberal government.
Bears Matter followers and myself are filled with hope and anticipation now that your party has returned to govern B.C. and believe that it is in no small part due to your promise to ‘Stop the Grizzly Killing’(note: facebook page with 45K+ followers).
We anxiously await your announcement that the Fall Trophy Grizzly Hunt will be cancelled, especially given the ongoing and devastating wildfire situation in this province. As you are well aware, the wildfires are compounding the stressors and habitat issues of all wildlife.
It has recently been reported in the media that your Ministry plans to consult with stakeholder groups before deciding on ending the hunt. We are wondering why such consultation is suggested when your government, and the Green Party, have already publicly declared to end the hunt? Please can you clarify this inference in the media and advise us of the status of this file if it is other than what your party promised during the May election campaign.
If any stakeholder consultations are to take place we, respectfully, request that it happen after the closure of the imminent 2017 Fall Grizzly Bear Hunt and the process would include non-consumptive and consumptive interest groups, including First Peoples.
Please do the right and only thing as soon as possible for our iconic, beloved Grizzlies and be confident that an overwhelming majority of British Columbians, individuals and jurisdictions around the world will herald your decision as a testament to your government’s mandate to uphold B.C.’s enlightened and progressive social justice values in this twenty-first century!
Respectfully,

Barbara Murray

On behalf of Bears Matter
(formerly of North Vancouver)
Nanoose Bay, B.C.
cc Premier Horgan; Minister Heyman (Environment); Minister Beare (Tourism); Minister Fraser (Indigenous Relations); Dr. Weaver, MLA; Adam Olsen, MLA; Sonia Furstenau, MLA; Michelle Stilwell, MLA; Gord Johns MP; Jane Thornthwaite, MLA; Ralph Sultan, MLA; Dr. Darryl Plecas, MLA

Barb Murray
Bears Matter
Facebook: Bears Matter; Stop the Grizzly Killing
Twitter: @bearsmatter @stopgrizzlykill
Instagram: @bearsmatter
www.bearsmatter.com

FLNR.Minister@gov; Premier@gov.bc.ca; ENV.minister@gov.bc.ca; Lisa.Beare.MLA@leg.bc.ca; ABR.Minister@gov.bc.ca; Andrew.Weaver.MLA@leg.bc.ca; Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca; Sonia.Furstenau.MLA@leg.bc.ca; Gord.Johns@parl.gc.ca; Darryl.Plecas.MLA@leg.bc.ca; Ralph.Sultan.MLA@leg.bc.ca; jane.thornthwaite.MLA@leg.bc.ca; Michelle.Stilwell.MLA@leg.bc.ca; Doug.Donaldson.MLA@leg.bc.ca