Category Archives: SaveBCBears Facebook Page

To Premier, Trophy Killing of Grizzlies begins again in B.C.,An inhumane & barbaric killing for the fun of it!

 

 

BearsForever Photo taken in Great Bear Rainforest of Head of Five Year Old 'Cheeky', a eco-viewed juvenile grizzly

BearsForever Photo taken in Great Bear Rainforest

On Apr 1, 2016, at 11:45 AM,

From: Bears Matter
Sent: ‎Friday‎, ‎April‎ ‎01‎, ‎2016 ‎10‎:‎33‎ ‎AM
To: premier@gov.bc.ca

Dear Premier Clark,

Open Letter:

Today is the day that you and your government allow trophy hunters, both resident and non-resident, to stalk, wound, orphan and kill grizzlies and black bears just out of hibernation. Some of these bears will be male, at least 30% will be female and of those females some will be mother’s with tiny cubs who they will hide at the first whiff of trouble.

Premier Clark, you and your government are solely responsible for the killings, wounding and orphaning of our unsuspecting, innocent, majestic grizzlies found in their natural habitat. They will be eating sedge grasses, shell fish, shoots and roots etc. as they try and regain the 40% of their weight lost from their long winter’s sleep. Most of the trophy hunters won’t even bother with the fur this time of year but will just take the bear’s head and paws and of course take that all important selfie!

The ”Super Natural B.C.” I know and love has NO place for Trophy killing of sentient beings such as bears! This sport or hobby by a few is a travesty, an international embarrassment, a social injustice and of course it is just simply inhumane.

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Today Bears Matter asked the Public to Attend Court Case for NHL Ducks Clayton Stoner

Stoner & Cheeky Photo

Stock Photo of Clayton Stoner                                Photo of  Courtesy BearsForever.ca

A couple days ago I put out an invite on Facebook  for this court appearance ( or postponement it turns out- third one). I was relieved and happy to see a dozen people with signs at the Courthouse when I arrived.  Amazingly we had a half a dozen media assembled as well who are also following this important case.  The tragic early death of a grizzly in May 2013 spurred on the First Nations group www.BearsForever.ca to do a short documentary about the loss of the known grizzly called ‘Bear Witness’ and their struggle to Ban Trophy Killing in their territory.

Some hunters and ‘trophy’ hunters respect the First Nations right to govern their land and the wildlife and others are brutally disrespectful and point to their gov’t issued tags (or not)  and  then trespass,  take the heads and paws and sometimes hides from their trophies and leave as quickly as they came.  Trophy killing must end and hopefully with the help of this case it will, sooner rather than later.

Also special mention needs to go to a recent campaign and petition started by www.wildlifedefenceleague.org , working with www.pacificwild.org , to bring pressure to our two Canadian airlines to do the right thing. On twitter you can tollow the campaign with the hashtag #BanTrophyExports so that Air Canada and WestJet hear the voices of the majority loud and clear.  Pls share articles, posts, tweets, instragrams etc… and write letters, sign petitions and make your opinions known.  We are back at the courthouse in Vancouver, BC on Nov 13, ..but will update this blog, facebook and twitter account. Here is one of many articles that came out this morning.

http://globalnews.ca/news/2269157/hes-a-role-model-for-kids-protesters-speak-out-after-nhl-player-kills-grizzly-bear/

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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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.

Read More:

Coastal Guardian Watchmen confront armed trophy hunters to save grizzlies

“Sometimes it gets nasty,” said Jason Moody, a patroller from Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola.http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/coastal-guardian-watchmen-confront-armed-trophy-hunters-save-grizzlies
Coastal Guardian Watchmen Grizzly bear hunt
Coastal Guardian Watchmen on the lookout for trophy hunters on the Great Bear Rainforest coast in 2010. Photo by Doug Neasloss with Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation.

Patrolling up and down British Columbia’s coast with binoculars are a group of dedicated First Nations volunteers that boat right up to armed hunters, often American, in their vessels to dissuade them from killing at-risk grizzlies just for sport. 

Called the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, they urge unsuspecting trophy hunters to halt their pursuit of grizzlies as insensitive to First Nations culture, and against tribal law.

“Sometimes it gets nasty,” said Jason Moody, a patroller from Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola.

“Sometimes you get [trophy hunters] realizing, ‘OK, you guys don’t want the hunting around here. We’ll go somewhere else.’”

Foreign hunters from places like Virginia and Texas pay thousands of dollars to come to B.C.—to be in one of the few places left where the fourth-largest carnivore on the planet can be shot for a trophy head or a bear rug.  

Many trophy hunters don’t like the altercations with the now 16 native patrollers on the coast.

“It gets tense. Usually just having a presence is enough,” says William Housty, who chairs the Heltisiuk First Nation resource management office in Bella Bella, and coordinates many of the indigenous watchmen.

Housty’s biggest worry is intoxicated hunters harming his crews that double as field researchers, quietly collecting grizzly-hair DNA in the woods.

“If there are drunk hunters walking around drinking Jack Daniels — who is to say they won’t shoot one our researchers. That’s one of our biggest beefs with the province,” he said.

The Guardian Watchmen do not have the legal powers to board vessels or enforce conservation laws, but they wish they did. Provincial officers, the Coast Guard and the RCMP are not seen often enough, said Housty.

And many hunters they come across are not carrying provincial licences. 

“A lot of the people who come up here don’t actually have tags. They’re poachers,” said Housty.

The wildlife manager recalled an infamous incident in 2013 when NHL player Clayton Stoner let some coastal watchmen on board the famous hockey player’s boat to photograph the defencemen’s recent grizzly kill.

NHL Clayton Stoner grizzly beheaded

NHL defenceman Clayton Stoner posing with a beheaded grizzly in 2013.  Photo by Coastal Guardian Watchmen.

The head and claws were removed, and Stoner smiled for the watchmen’s photo snaps that would soon become national news material.

“He let himself be an idiot poster child for the trophy hunt,” laughed Housty.   

Stoner defended his bear kill at the time.

“I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting licence through a British Columbia limited-entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my licence while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May,” the hockey star said in a statement. 

But since that media spectacle, many watchmen admit they’ve only been partly successful in slowing the trophy hunt.   

The Guide Outfitters Association says as long as it is kept legal by the B.C. government, their members will continue flying in high-paying hunting clients to kill grizzlies.

“While we try to accommodate [aboriginal] wishes, but until they have jurisdiction, the authority around it is the Crown,” says the association’s executive director Scott Ellis.  

“Our guys are still going to operate their businesses.” 

But Coastal First Nations are now threatening legal action to put an end to the industry.

NDP and Liberals off-target on grizzly trophy hunt, conservationist says

http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/ndp-and-liberals-target-grizzly-trophy-hunt-conservationist-says 

by Mychaylo Prystupa

Grizzly photo by Andrew Wright in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Grizzly photo by Andrew Wright in the Great Bear Rainforest.

A fierce political squabble this week in the British Columbia legislature over who gets to shoot bears — locals or foreigners — has entirely missed the target about the need to protect at-risk grizzlies, says a long-time conservationist.

“I think the NDP really has missed the mark,” says Brian Falconer with Raincoast Conservation Foundation on Thursday.

 

“The bears don’t care if it’s a guide outfitters’ bullet or a resident hunters’ bullet that goes through its gut.  It’s dead,” he added.

On Monday, the opposition New Democrats fired political shots at B.C. Minister Bill Bennett for an alleged conflict of interest regarding a recent hunting policy decision.  The issue made national headlines.

 

The opposition claims the long-time hunting enthusiast Liberal MLA, who has a habit of lobbing profanities at his hunting critics, should not have sat in on cabinet decisions about the so-called “allocation” of hunting permits.

The background is, the BC government recently changed the percentage of kill licences given to foreigners versus resident hunters in December.  

The change caused an uproar among the thousands of resident hunters represented by the BC Wildlife Federation, who growled at Bennett.

Mining Minister Bennett intervened, but not before colourfully pushing back on Facebook: “Frankly [Natural Resources Minister] Steve doesn’t need the votes to get elected, and I’m not running again, so all the threats don’t mean shit to us.” 

A tweak to the hunting allocation was made Feb.6.  

 

But the NDP says, because Bennett is still owed a $70,000 loan from a guide outfitting business he sold in 2001, he must be in bed with the guide outfitters.

“If the guide outfitters do better [because of the policy shift], would he get his money back?  You start to think about that,” said NDP MLA Katrine Conroy on Thursday.

The opposition even released an e-mail showing Bennett telling ministerial staff he’s been “intimately involved” in allocation decisions.

What’s missed in all this bafflegab, says Falconer, is that 87% of British Columbians polled in 2013 want the trophy hunt stopped altogether — not political battles over who gets to kill, he said.

“All of this bickering is disguising the real issue.  It doesn’t matter if the bear hide ends up on a floor in the Kootenays, or a floor in West Virginia — the grizzly is still dead.”

The Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative has long said the trophy hunt of (white) spirit bears and grizzlies is an affront to their culture, is threatening to a scientifically unknown number of grizzlies, and provides far less economic value than the bear-watching eco businesses.

The BC Wildlife Federation agrees the recent allocation decision was not about the trophy hunt, and that its resident hunters seek the grizzlies for food.

“Many people, including my own family, will eat grizzly meat or black bear meat, or whatever,” said BCWF vice president Jim Glaicar.

“This is about the issue of access for residents of BC and privatizing a public resource,” he added. 

Bears Matter Note: Please sign Letter to Premier Clark to Stop Trophy Killing of Grizzlies! It is unacceptable and unethical to over 87% of British Columbians. It is unscientific and goes against our eco-tourism culture in BC!

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

With files from Jenny Uechi.