Category Archives: Newspaper Article

Vancouver Sun Editorial: Time for province to end grizzly bear hunt

http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/editorials/editorial+time+province+grizzly+bear+hunt/11356982/story.html

Sept 11, 2015

One bear is not proof of a trend; however, the sighting near Whistler of a female grizzly with cub is welcome news.

Extirpated from much of its historic range, the province’s largest terrestrial carnivore remains a species of special concern, threatened by habitat loss and human activity. So sighting a fertile female in a region where wildlife managers hope a grizzly population can regenerate is cause for cautious optimism.

That’s the good news, even if it comes with the imperative for Whistler hikers and campers to become bear-aware regarding the risks and what to do in an encounter.

The bad news is provincial authorities continue to promote the slaughter of grizzlies to satisfy the vanity of trophy hunters.

The province estimated in 2012 that B.C. had 15,075 grizzlies, fewer than 100 in the southwest region. Yet some grizzly advocates believe populations are over-estimated, deaths under-estimated and that every bear killed is one death too many. One biologist argues that rigorous grizzly population estimates have been done in only 12 per cent of B.C. Another paper published by four B.C.-based wildlife biologists in 2013 found excessive mortality levels in 19 per cent of the cases studied. It worried that excessive mortality might really occur in 70 per cent.

Such fears are amplified by reports the province has been increasing hunting effort on grizzly bears. The number of licenses issued since 2005 for grizzly hunting apparently increased by 58 per cent.

It’s no surprise that First Nations on the north central coast where grizzlies concentrate to exploit large annual salmon runs are now vowing to take whatever steps necessary to enforce bans on what they deem unethical trophy hunting in their traditional territories. They have a strong economic case, too. First Nations seek to build a sustainable, long-term tourist industry in the region based on wildlife viewing. This is a sound business plan. The Wilderness Tourism Association of B.C. says ecotourism is already worth $1.5 billion a year to the province and growing rapidly. By comparison, trophy killing grizzlies brings in about $116 million a year and is severely constrained by harvest quotas. In other words, trophy hunting is worth peanuts and has little growth potential compared with wildlife viewing.

Not long ago, an American trophy hunter revolted the world by killing Cecil, a Zimbabwean lion. One week of wildlife viewing of Cecil from a nearby lodge generated more income for Zimbabwe than the hunter who paid only once to kill the lion. The tourist revenue would have flowed for the rest of the lion’s natural life. This fact lends weight to First Nations’ arguments. They experienced a similarly wasteful loss in 2013 when a grizzly named Cheeky was killed by a trophy hunter who cut off his head and paws and left the carcass to rot.

Almost all British Columbians — 87 per cent — oppose trophy hunting grizzly bears. This seems an excellent time for government to revisit what most of the citizens it serves consider a barbaric, wasteful, morally — and economically — indefensible practice.

Updates on Pacific Wild & Bears Matter Change.org Petitions: Graphic Grizzly Hunt Video Gone Viral

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

Update fr Pacific Wild Sept 13, 2015 ‘Have you seen this video?’ Warning: Graphic Content

Bears Matter

Sep 14, 2015 — Have you seen this video? (Warning: Graphic content)

Pacific Wild
Sep 13, 2015 — A very violent video of a trophy hunt kill went viral earlier this week in Canada, and now newspapers across the country, in particular B.C., are amping up the call for an end to the trophy hunt of grizzly bears. 

www.pacificwild.org/ChristyNeedsToSee

One journalist has gone so far as to challenge Christy Clark, the premier of B.C., to watch the video and tell B.C. she still supports the trophy hunt.

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Globe & Mail Article by Gary Mason & Graphic Video; ‘I Challenge BC’s Premier to Watch this Grizzly Bear Hunt Video’

It seems bizarre that we can be outraged by the trophy hunting we witnessed in Africa, but allow the same thing to happen in our own country. (Fotofeeling/Westend61 GmbH)It seems bizarre that we can be outraged by the trophy hunting we witnessed in Africa, but allow the same thing to happen in our own country.
(Fotofeeling/Westend61 GmbH)

The Globe and Mail

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/i-challenge-bcs-premier-to-watch-this-grizzly-bear-video/article26344883/

There are images that hit the Internet that break our hearts. And there are those that make us furious. A new video making the rounds on social media is managing to do both – and the B.C. government should be alive to the backlash it is creating.

The video opens with a grizzly bear wandering nonchalantly on a remote hillside. A shot rings out that kicks up dust beside the bear, with no evident impact on him. An off-camera voice urges the shooter to fire again. And then the carnage begins: For the next 90 seconds, you can only watch in disgust and horror as the bear is peppered with bullets from a rifle that seems to have only enough power to torture this poor creature to death, rather than end its life in anything resembling a humane way. 
Warning: The video below is extremely graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/i-challenge-bcs-premier-to-watch-this-grizzly-bear-video/article26344883/

There are two parts of the video that are particularly disturbing: the bear running in a tight circle in reaction to the bullets hitting him; and then its final, crushing, end-over-end death tumble down a snow-covered hillside, a trail of deep red blood covering his fall line. Soon, the hunters can be heard laughing and celebrating, elated that the bear’s cartwheel to the bottom of the hill means less work lugging the carcass out of the bush.

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

Relaxing Grizzlygrouse-grizzly_n3d3306-web

Relaxing grizzly bear. Photo by Andrew S. Wright.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

grizzly hunting open 2014 map regions caribou kootenay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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