Tag Archives: bear-viewing

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

BC Bungled Grizzly Bear Management: Auditor General Report by Judith Lavoie

Oct24'17Desmog

https://www.desmog.ca/2017/10/24/b-c-bungled-grizzly-bear-management-auditor-general

A muddled mess of plans that were never implemented, unclear accountability, lack of organized monitoring and spotty oversight has been at the root of the provincial government’s management of grizzly bear populations for more than two decades, Auditor General Carol Bellringer found in a highly critical report released Tuesday.
The report confirms many of the concerns frequently raised by conservation groups.  A lack of firm population numbers. Resource extraction in grizzly bear habitat. Lax regulation of the grizzly bear trophy hunt.
“This is a scathing indictment of the poor management of grizzly bears by successive B.C. governments, going back decades,” said Faisal Moola, director of the David Suzuki Foundation, which requested an audit in 2014 along with University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre.
To understand where things went wrong, we’ve got to rewind to 1995 when the government committed to a “Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy” with a goal to maintain healthy grizzly bear populations and the ecosystems they depend on.
But the Environment Ministry and Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources never clarified responsibilities and priorities in terms of actually implementing the strategy.
“Currently, there is no organized inventory and limited monitoring of grizzly bears. We found that one of the reasons this work is not being carried out is that there is no dedicated ministry funding,” says the report.

In other cases, government created plans, such as the strategy for recovering the endangered North Cascades grizzly population, but plans were never implemented.
“In many cases they have not developed policies and procedures necessary to ensure the survival of grizzly bear populations and, when they have had plans, they have failed to effectively implement them,” Moola said.
Government figures estimate there are now 15,000 grizzly bears in B.C. — one of the last areas in North America where grizzly bears live in their natural habitat. But that figure is questioned by some scientists — and nine of the province’s grizzly bear populations are on the verge of elimination.
A century ago, 35,000 grizzly bears lived in B.C, while other populations flourished from Alaska to Mexico to Manitoba, according to the Suzuki Foundation.
Some populations of bears have increased, Bellringer noted, but that is not the result of management strategies.
Habitat Destruction Key Threat to Grizzly Bears
Despite the public controversy that has raged around the grizzly bear trophy hunt, with 250 to 300 bears killed every year, the greatest threat is not hunting, but human activities that degrade grizzly bear habitat, Bellringer wrote.
“For example, there are 600,000 kilometres of resource roads with, on the order of 10,000 kilometres more added each year. This expansion allows greater human access into wilderness areas, which results in illegal killing of grizzly bears and greater human-bear conflicts,” she wrote.
Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Doug Donaldson and Environment Minister George Heyman said the government is accepting all 10 recommendations in the report and will develop a grizzly bear management plan with clear objectives, roles, responsibilities and accountabilities.
The recommendations include improvements in monitoring populations and threats, developing an adequately funded inventory of bears, increased transparency, ensuring the Conservation Officer Service has enough resources to respond to grizzly/human conflicts, developing clear policies and procedures for bear viewing, mitigating the effect of industry on bear habitat, adjusting tools needed to conserve habitat and reviewing wildlife management in B.C.
Some Areas Need to be ‘Off Limits’ To Industry to Protect Habitat

Read More at https://www.desmog.ca/2017/10/24/b-c-bungled-grizzly-bear-management-auditor-general

 

 

Media Advisory: 44 Signators Say Grizzly ‘Meat’ Hunt Will Be A ‘Trophy’ Hunt in Disguise

Human-caused mortality is the greatest source of death for grizzly bears and is the primary factor limiting grizzly bear populations. The federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada lists grizzly bears as a species of special concern.

Human-caused mortality is the greatest source of death for grizzly bears and is the primary factor limiting grizzly bear populations. The federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada lists grizzly bears as a species of special concern.

For Immediate Release:
October 6, 2017

New Denver, BC – Forty-four environmental and animal welfare organizations, along with wildlife-based businesses and prominent activists, have signed an Open Letter to the BC Government opposing the continuation of grizzly bear hunting for meat. “The BC government is planning to end trophy hunting of grizzly bears, but will allow them to be hunted for meat across most of the province, except for a 230,000-hectare portion of the Great Bear Rainforest,” says Ian McAllister of Pacific Wild. “We are asking for a complete ban on hunting grizzly bears all over BC.”

The Open Letter says there has never been significant hunting of grizzly bears for meat in BC. “Previously grizzly bears were classified by BC Fish & Wildlife with non-game animals such as wolverines, wolves and cougars,” says Alan Burger of BC Nature. “Hunters were specifically allowed under law to leave the meat on the ground and take only the trophy parts. Many British Columbians are appalled that the government has now invented a grizzly bear meat hunt.”

“People don’t travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres, pay tens of thousands of dollars, and risk their lives shooting at grizzly bears to put meat on the table,” the Open Letter states. “They largely do it only for trophies and sport. Even if they have to leave the head, hide and claws behind, they take away trophy videos, photographs and bragging rights. The bears will still be killed for sport”.

The Open Letter disputes the BC government’s claim that hunting grizzly bears is sustainable. “Grizzly bears are a species at risk,” says Wayne McCrory, a bear biologist and Valhalla Wilderness Society director. “For years independent scientists have warned the government that BC may have far fewer grizzly bears than we think”.

“We have thriving grizzly bear viewing and photography businesses in the Interior, just like on the coast,” says famed Kootenay wildlife photographer, Jim Lawrence. “People are thrilled to see these magnificent animals alive and in photographs.

“Stop the Grizzly Killing Society receives comments from many hundreds of people,” says TrishBoyum, who has campaigned tirelessly to protect grizzlies. “It is clear that British Columbians want a total ban on killing grizzly bears across BC, except where they would be hunted by some First Nations People for sustenance and ceremonial purposes.”

“Collectively, our organizations, which represent the majority of British Columbians, urge the BC government not to authorize any further grizzly bear hunting until it has done a full review of public input and the soon-to-be released Auditor General’s report. This is a very critical conservation issue in our province and we have an opportunity to do it right.,” says Dr. Sara Dubois, Chief Scientific Officer of the BC SPCA.

Contact Persons:
Wayne McCrory, bear biologist and director, VWS, Click here: More information on VWS
Dr. Alan Burger, President, BC Nature,                                                                                            Trish Boyum, Stop Grizzly Killing Society
Jim Lawrence, Kootenay Reflections Photography,                                                                    
Dr. Sara Dubois, BC SPCA, 604.647.6403 (office)
Lindsay Stewart, Pacific Wild,

-30-

List of 44 Signators

Animal Advocates of BC
judy@animaladvocates.com
Animal Alliance of Canada
Liz White
Animal Justice
Camille Labchuck
Animal Protection Party of
Canada, Liz White
Applied Conservation GIS
Baden Cross
BC Nature
Dr. Alan Burger
BC SPCA
Dr. Sara Dubois
Bears Matter
Barb Murray
Canadians for Bears
Ainslie Willock
Clayoquot Action
Bonny Glambeck
Craighead Institute
Dr. Lance Craighead
David Suzuki Foundation
Faisal Moola
DeerSafe
Kelly Carson
First Nations Environmental
Network
Suzanne Lawson
Friends of the Lardeau
Rhonda Batchelor
Friends of Nemaiah
Dave Williams
George Rammell
Grizzly bear activist
Great Bear Chalet
Jefferson Bray
Humane Society International/
Canada
Julie MacInnes
Justice for BC Grizzlies
Valerie Murray
Kootenay Reflections Photography,
Jim Lawrence
Kwiakah First Nation
Frank Voelker
West Coast Wild Art
Leanne Hodges
Lifeforce Foundation
Peter Hamilton
Ocean Adventures Charter Co.
Ltd.
Eric Boyum
Ocean Light II Adventures
Jenn Broom
Pacific Rainforest Adventure
Tours Inc.
Ronda and Gary Murdock
Pacific Wild
Lindsay Marie Stewart
Purcell Alliance for Wilderness
Gary Diers
Save-the-Cedar League
Rick and Julie Zammuto
Steve Williamson Photography
Steve Williamson
Stop the Grizzly Killing Society
Trish Boyum
The Fur-Bearers
Lesley Fox
Tourists against Trophy Hunting
Judy Malone
Valhalla Wilderness Society
Wayne McCrory, R.P.Bio.
Wildlife Defence League
Tommy Knowles
Wolf Awareness Incorporated
Sadie Parr
Zoocheck Canada
Julie Woodyer

 

Bears Matter Invites YOU to SeaLegacy’s Campaign to Stop Grizzly Killing in B.C.!

The half-hearted grizzly hunting moratorium in B.C. is not enough. We need to end hunting of all grizzly bears, forever

NicklenGrizzlies

At SeaLegacy, we are not going to be sidetracked by the B.C. government’s half-hearted decision to put a 2018 moratorium on the grizzly bear hunt, and we will continue to rally support until the government takes the killing of these majestic bears seriously.
In a months’s time, from the close of 2017’s hunting season on November 30th, the government of British Columbia is claiming to have banned all hunting of grizzlies within the Great Bear Rainforest of the mid central coast. While we recognise this step in the right direction, they have left a gaping and unnecessary loophole that is bound to be exploited: grizzly bears can still be hunted for meat.

This move is a glaring attempt to stay true to their campaign promise while still allowing trophy hunters to kill apex predators in B.C.’s territory. The government claims there are approximately 15,000 grizzlies in B.C. and hunters kill about 250 every year.
Natural Resources Minister Doug Donaldson has stated, “Hunters will no longer be able to possess the hide or the head or the paws of the bear, so we feel quite confident that this announcement will mean the end of the grizzly bear trophy hunt through the province.”
At SeaLegacy we know these immense, solitary creatures are more fragile than most people believe, requiring 4,000 square kilometres each as territory.
They are an umbrella species whose health can help determine the health of an entire ecosystem. To hunt them is anything but noble, and we want to add our voice to the loud chorus of British Columbians and citizens of the world who understand their value beyond a hide on a wall or a meal on a plate. After a recent week of filming brown bears in Alaska, SeaLegacy co-founder Paul Nicklen recalled his time working with these great brown bears.

Read More, See Stunning Photos and Take Action by going to https://act.sealegacy.org/s/stop-the-trophy-hunt

B.C.’s Trophy Hunt Ban a Good Step but Loophole Puts Bears at Risk

August 15, 2017
VANCOUVER — B.C.’s cancellation of the grizzly bear trophy hunt is a good step but a loophole that allows hunting the bears for meat is cause for concern, according to the David Suzuki Foundation. The province-wide ban goes into effect on November 30, following this year’s hunting season. It will not prohibit hunters from killing grizzly bears for meat outside of the Great Bear Rainforest.

“We really hoped provisions to ban the hunt in the Great Bear Rainforest would apply to the whole province,” said David Suzuki Foundation Ontario and Northern Canada director Faisal Moola. “The government’s decision means hundreds of grizzly bears will be spared, and that is welcome news. Their pelts, paws, heads and other body parts will no longer be displayed by foreign or local hunters as trophies.”
Bear experts have long known that keeping grizzly populations healthy means protecting their habitat and ensuring humans do not needlessly kill them.

“Although this decision will help reduce the numbers of grizzly bears killed by humans, the provision allowing them to be killed for meat means bears will still be killed,” Moola said. “Grizzly bears are a federally ranked species at risk and it is unclear how a grizzly bear food hunt could be regulated and enforced to ensure hunters do not needlessly shoot bears.”

The David Suzuki Foundation has campaigned for an end to killing of grizzly bears for close to 15 years. It has published numerous scientific studies on the controversial practice, mobilized thousands of B.C. residents in opposition to the trophy hunt and last year successfully convinced B.C.’s auditor general to open an investigation into trophy hunt management and other grizzly bear policies.

A century ago, 35,000 grizzly bears lived in British Columbia and flourished from Alaska to Mexico and east across the Prairies. Today, only about 15,000 grizzly bears inhabit B.C. and have been eliminated from the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan and around Fort St. John.

Grizzlies are highly sensitive to human impacts such as loss and fragmentation of their forest and mountain habitats by clearcuts, roads, oil and gas pipelines and other industrial infrastructure. Female bears reproduce later in life and often produce only a small number of cubs that survive into adulthood. Grizzlies travel long distances to find food, putting them at risk of coming into contact with hunters, roads, towns and other human encroachments into their habitat.
Unlike B.C.’s plan, the Alberta government has maintained a moratorium on all grizzly bear hunting since 2006. Grizzly bear hunting is also banned in the continental United States. B.C. grizzly populations remain healthy in many parts of the province, but independent analyses have found widespread overkilling of bears in some areas and at rates that exceed government limits.
– 30 —
Media contacts:
Faisal Moola, Director of Ontario and Northern Canada

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2017/08/bcs-trophy-hunt-ban-a-good-step-but-loophole-puts-bears-at-risk/?utm_campaign=grizzlyTrophyHunt-mediaRelease-en-15aug2017&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=page-link

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