Category Archives: Letter to Editor

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join our letter-writing campaign …

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

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

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

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

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

Some addresses and emails for politicians below:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Disgraceful Photo and Practise of Killing Grizzlies for just their heads and photo op!

Bears Matter added: Poster fr BC Guide Outfitters materials in 2013!

Letter copied to Bears Matter and reproduced with permission:

Subject: Super, Natural British Columbia and trophy hunting
Date: March 25, 2016 at 11:14:55 AM PDT
To: shirley.bond.mla@leg.bc.ca
Cc: premier@gov.bc.ca

Dear Minister Bond,
I’ve lived and worked in British Columbia all my life and every day am grateful to have been born here. The recently launched Destination B.C. materials showcase our province’s people, the animals, the communities and pristine wild spaces and I think “yes, this is what my home looks like”.

But there is a glaring disconnect between what the material portrays of B.C. wildlife and the continued legal practice of trophy hunting in this province. It’s a serious schism. Killing wild animals for sport or trophy is a violent, disrespectful practice that certainly wouldn’t be included in tourism materials. This highlights a glaring misalignment of attitudes toward our wild species that needs to be remedied.

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B.C. Has its Own Version of Cecil the Lion by Julius Strauss and Kevin Smith

Banff Bear Sighting 20140318

Grizzly bear viewing is a growing tourism business that brings in millions of dollars to the B.C. economy. PHOTO: Jonathan Hayward/CP

While the world has been gripped by the sad fate of Cecil the Lion, shot earlier this week by an American trophy hunter on the plains of Africa and left to die, British Columbia has many of its very own Cecils quietly bringing millions of dollars into the provincial economy.

Over the last two decades, grizzly bear viewing in B.C. has grown from a tiny niche business to one estimated be worth $30 million in direct revenue to the economy in 2012, according to the Centre for Responsible Travel’s study conducted with Stanford University.

This is more than 10 times as much as the industry of killing bears for sport.

And yet, this industry is under pressure from trophy hunting.

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Times Colonist Editorial: Bear Killings are a Moral Issue

When he refused to kill two orphaned bear cubs, B.C. conservation officer Bryce Casavant put his career on the line. But he also sparked a needed debate about the morality of killing “problem” animals.

The incident that triggered this controversy occurred near Port Hardy three weeks ago, after the mother of the cubs was shot for raiding a freezer. Despite being ordered to destroy the eight-week-olds, Casavant took them to a local animal shelter for treatment.

For this act of human decency, Casavant was suspended. He remains at home while the Environment Ministry, where he works, conducts an assessment of his actions.

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Letter PQ News: Port Hardy Cubs Need Some Fairness and So Does Officer Bryce Casavant

http://www.pqbnews.com/opinion/letters/317838591.html in response to article      July 14th: Famous Bear Cubs Calling Errington Home for Now by Carli Berry http://www.pqbnews.com/news/315038451.html

Dear Editor,

In 2004 I was involved in a ‘save the cubs’ campaign on the North Shore, very much like the one playing out in Errington at this present time, minus social media.

Our conservation officer killed a yearling cub and a cub of the year with a lethal injection of a tranquilizer drug, kids and media watching.

A short time later another cub of the year was rescued by a District of North Vancouver park ranger and myself and then he too was killed in front of us because he was deemed ‘habituated’ and ‘food conditioned’ by the powers that be in Victoria.

That was the straw that broke the public confidence in the conservation officer service (COS) to do the right and humane thing. Intuitively, the public understand what we in the bear world know to be true: cubs of the year (COY) are not ‘habituated’ to humans forever or ‘food conditioned’ to garbage forever if rehabbed properly and given a remote location release.

This has been proven time and time again over many years with thousands of cubs of the year being successfully released around the world regardless of their early experience before 12 months of age.

There are many experts who have compiled and reported on the data and the Ministry of the Environment have these reports.

So why do they not set policy which reflects known science? Why does the COS create such a long, drawn-out media frenzy over two tiny cubs? It boggles my mind. Here we are 11 years later fighting again to save cubs from a senseless kill order at the same time fighting to save a man’s career in the public service?

Many, many undiscovered orphan cubs in B.C. are left to die as a result of the spring bear hunt, vehicle strikes, industrial development and nuisance mothers.

When we, as a community, learn about a few token cubs that can be rescued and taken to a privately funded, non-profit rehabilitation facility we expect that to happen without drama or spectacle. All we ask of the government is to let us bring a tiny bit of fairness to a tiny newborn bear in an increasingly unfair world.

 Barbara Murray, B.C. Bear Advocate

Nanoose Bay

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