Tag Archives: co-existence

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

Deadline for Input Nov 2, 2017 on Grizz Hunt in BC!

How do you prefer your grizzly?

Stop the grizzly killing facebook page
Published · 17 hrs
BC’s Grizzlies need you!
Are you outraged over BC’s Grizzly Meat loophole? Then make your voice heard. Please join this event and share it far and wide:
https://www.facebook.com/events/481563502223788/
The Grizzlies need you to send a message to the email addresses below TODAY and tell them what you think of the proposed Grizzly ‘Meat’ Hunt!
Send comments to:
grizzly.bear@gov.bc.ca
Please Cc the following:
premier@gov.bc.ca
flnr.minister@gov.bc.ca
env.minister@gov.bc.ca
tristan.jones@gov.bc.ca
rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca
andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca
To find a BC MLA go to: https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members
Tell the govt that they need to extend the ban on hunting grizzlies to all of B.C., not just in the Great Bear Rainforest! Alberta instituted a province wide ban in 2006, we can do it too. No meat pack-out, no loopholes.
Deadline for public input is Nov 2, 2017 so please don’t wait! Email them today and be sure your representatives know how important this issue is to you. We know they are listening, now we need to keep the pressure on. Please help!
For more information, please read this Open Letter to Govt from 44 Wildlife Conservation Groups & Individuals:https://tinyurl.com/Grizzly-Meat-Hunt-a-Disguise

 

Charlie Russell: Discoverying the True Nature of the Grizzly Bear, YouTube Video March’16

 

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Hello B.C. Bear Friends,Copy of Russell40

A gift to ALL! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLpyFH1Y-aA&feature=youtu.be

A 46 minute long video and so well worth the view. We must really LISTEN carefully to Charlie Russell’s words and step up ourselves to tell the true story about grizzlies.

We must NOW take Charlie Russell’s life’s message to our politicians, candidates and voters with as much conviction, commitment and passion as he has shown all these years. Now in his mid-seventies, Charlie is still fighting for the grizzlies and we must fight along side him. We have to finally bring peace to our grizzlies in British Columbia and end the killing.

Once we end the killing of grizzlies in our backyard we can help grizzlies in other jurisdictions.
Enjoy and Share,

Justice for BC Grizzlies – Citizen’s Campaign’17 www.justiceforbcgrizzlies.com justiceforbcgrizzlies@telus.net
facebook: @justiceforbcgrizzlies
twitter: @justice4bcgrizz

Note: YouTube Video: Published on Mar 29, 2016 by Wilderness Wildlife and Human Interaction Cochrane Research Institute, Discovering the true nature of the Grizzly Bear

The Lens of Choice by Justice for BC Grizzlies

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Posted by justiceforbcgrizzlies on July 13, 2016

Trophy bear hunting is hard to talk about. It evokes really powerful emotions and quite frankly I would avoid it if I could. But I made a promise to the bears that I will take a stand on their behalf. So this is where I stand: Killing bears for the sole purpose of taking body parts to display as “trophy” is a social justice issue that is just plain wrong. It needs to end everywhere in BC and by anyone in BC.

The Liberal government spends a lot of money trying to count bears in each of the province’s 56 Grizzly Bear Population Units (GBPU). It spends a further amount managing the annual hunts. It’s easy to think that numbers, statistics and modeling projections tell the truth; they look so clean and reliable. What isn’t so apparent are the value assumptions that lay beneath the numbers and what those views are saying to citizens of this province.

Bear viewing and bear killing obviously cannot happen in the same locations at the same time. Even more so, they are antithetical because they are grounded in differing views about the way the world is. Generally speaking, people who go bear viewing are in small cooperative groups whose values are grounded in curiosity, wonder, trust, peace and human-animal coexistence. Bear trophy hunting acts on a different set of values. People who kill bears for sport make different assumptions from a worldview of certainty, defense, contest, dominance and human-animal conflict. It’s up to ordinary citizens to decide which way of viewing the world most speaks to how they see themselves and their communities.

Population estimates of grizzlies reveal nothing about bear personalities, which anyone who knows bears is intriqued to study. Like which bears have learned to skillfully fish off the lip of a fast-moving waterfall, or swim underwater, or steal fish from other bears. Numbers say nothing about which bear lost an ear over the winter or which mothers have learned, from painful experience, to raise their cubs to maturity. Government officials and guide outfitters will say that such details have no place in serious, “scientific” discussions about bears. In my view, these very details have an essential place because each bear is a unique individual, in much the same way as each human is a unique individual.

Nobody knows for certain how many grizzlies there are in BC. They can’t be counted. Grizzlies have the slowest reproduction rate of any mammal in North America and mortality rates are thought to be much higher than reported. A female grizzly might replace herself only once in her lifetime. Nobody knows how quickly a bear population is replacing itself year to year, or how low a population can go before its members experience rapid, irreversible decline. Sub-adult cubs remain close to their mother’s range before moving farther afield, so dispersal of bear populations is slow. Male grizzlies need a home range of up to 1700 km2 (~650 sq. miles) of connected habitats in order to forage and find females of breeding readiness. They work hard just to live. Killing the largest bears damages genetic information in the species. Roads being built for human recreation, industry and habitation are constantly fragmenting grizzly home ranges. And once a population is recognized as threatened, recovery efforts move at a glacial pace.

Population estimates don’t tell any authentic stories of Grizzly Bears and no number of bears is high enough to justify killing them for sport. Justice for BC grizzlies means to stop killing them and to support education for understanding bears and living around them safely.

Taken from: https://justiceforbcgrizzlies.com/2016/07/13/bear-viewing-by-boat/

 

Peaceful Coexistence (with Grizzlies) Article posted by Justice for BC Grizzlies

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Photo: Justice for BC Grizzlies photo taken in Knight’s Inlet July’15

A large wooden gift plaque reads “MAN CAVE: VIOLATERS WILL BE MAULED”; a grizzly head, jaws agape, teeth bared, ready to rip someone to shreds. Just a silly sign but it causes me to reflect on how stereotypes of animals become culturally ingrained over time. Children’s books show bears in a more whimsical light, such as the lovable Pooh-bear, or thoughtful Baloo. I personally grew up with Goldilocks and the three bears. Most people have never seen a grizzly in the wild, including politicians who make life-and-death decisions over “bear management”.

The truth about grizzlies is neither as bad as the worst stereotypes nor as harmless as children’s tales. All of us who speak for grizzlies need to raise the calibre of awareness about the intelligence, the sensitivity and the way of being that these bears authentically present in a natural setting. A romanticized notion does them as much disservice as fear-instilling messages do.

When I went bear viewing, I was deeply impressed with the dedication by the guides to keep people safe, but, perhaps even more so, to their commitment to keeping the bears safe. A bear doesn’t get to make mistakes when he/she comes into contact with humans. It’s up to the humans to prevent the conflicts in the first place. The genuine caring of those bear guides rubs off on ecotourists in good ways and makes us want to better understand our fellow “bruins”.

Take a look, for instance, at the experience of Dr. Melanie Clapham, bear researcher, whose video interview with a fellow researcher was interrupted by a curious cub.

A good example of a human community learning to coexist with bears can be found in the report on Meadow Creek bear education and management of 2013-14. The community of Meadow Creek is situated in the valley bottom between the Selkirk and Purcell ranges. It’s prime human and bear habitat both, where bears have typically experienced high mortality rates at the hands of residents. In addition to a wide variety of deterrent strategies, this study shows how a shift in human attitudes toward living with bears is what makes the biggest difference to human-bear coexistance. The author makes the point that bears can be taught what is socially appropriate around human habitation but it’s up to the people to choose non-lethal ways of dealing with bears when they do come in close proximity. The author also points out that sub-adult bears, typically 3-4 years of age and newly independent, may come into conflict through their relative naivety but that this age-group is also easily taught how to behave appropriately around human settlements. I’ve read that the ability of bear cubs to form mental maps, based on what they learn from their mother’s early teachings, is comparable to the ability of a 3-year old human child. Think about how much a child of three has already learned in their short life. It’s incredible. Bears and people can all learn to behave properly.

Bears can be taught to navigate safely around human communities. People can certainly remember to do what they were taught by the age of three: Say you’re sorry and try to make it better. Put an end to hunting bears for sport or profit, learn about their ways and how to behave properly around them and teach others to respect bears as the keystone engineers of healthy ecosystems that they rightfully are, in BC and elsewhere.

For more information about brown bears, go to Dr. Clapham’s Brown Bear Research Network.

Taken from: https://justiceforbcgrizzlies.com/2016/07/07/grizzlies-live-in-peace/

 

Meet The First Justice for BC Grizzlies’ Ambassadors

Mary-Sue, Grizzly Ambassador, holding a salmon award

As a North Vancouver mother of 3, I love our beautiful natural environment in British Columbia. Our magnificent grizzly bears are an iconic species and tourists from around the world come here for the opportunity to view them in the wild. We in B.C. host some of North America’s last remaining places where large predators and their prey play out their millennia-old roles. Grizzlies are an important “umbrella” species. Landscapes that support healthy Grizzly bear populations will be able to sustain many other species. Grizzly bears play a key role in maintaining healthy ecosystems by distributing salmon nutrients into forests and transporting seeds. They are an important part of the culture of First Nations People living in B.C. I personally love and respect our grizzly bears and the barbaric practice of trophy hunting must end. I was chosen to be an Olympic torchbearer in the 2010 Winter Olympics for my volunteer stewardship of wild salmon and their ecosystems for over 20 years. I am so proud to be a Canadian and a British Columbian. But I, and over 91% of my fellow British Columbians, are not proud of our trophy hunt, are disgusted by it and want it to stop. Now is the time to listen to the public who share my values. I want our children and their children to be able to view majestic grizzlies in the wild. The hunt is not sustainable : economically, socially, environmentally or morally. Please join me and speak for the grizzlies!   Mary-Sue Atkinson, North Vancouver

Jacequeline as Ambassador
Jacqueline, Grizzly Ambassador – Momma Grizzly resting in the Khutzemateen, B.C.

Growing up, my parents had a hobby farm with a variety of farm animals. We loved them all like pets and we did everything possible to make sure they were healthy and safe. I’ve never known anything in my life but to care deeply for animals. Watching the local news one evening in 2013, I learned about the BC trophy hunt and how a hockey player had killed a grizzly bear and then proudly posed for photos with its bloody severed head and paws. I was disgusted and horrified. I thought that trophy hunting was something that was going on somewhere else in the world. I didn’t imagine that in Canada, in my home province of BC, it was actually legal to kill these beautiful animals for no reason other than to have their head or hide. I wanted to help the bears and I made a pact with myself to become active in the effort to end this archaic practice. Over the last several years, I’ve met and aligned myself with many others who also want to see the trophy hunt ended. I’ve signed many petitions, written letters to our leaders, written letters to newspapers, and I talk to everyone I can about this issue in order to bring it to the forefront. I have only ever met one or two people who don’t think trophy killing is wrong, most people agree right away that it is reprehensible and should be ended. I agree and believe that ending it is the morally right thing to do.  Jacqueline Hohmann, Surrey

Craig as Ambassador
Craig is a Grizzly Ambassador

I can imagine a day when there is a parade in front of the Provincial Legislature when the last grizzly bear has been shot and the people demonstrating will in fact be mourning that this keystone species so fundamental to the ecology of the Province’s forests no longer roams the wild areas. People will say, ‘How could that have happened? Why did the government not stop the hunting of these animals when they knew there was no economic, social, environmental or moral reason to sanction their mindless slaughter?’ I can also imagine a parade in front of the Provincial Legislature when the last grizzly bear has been shot and the people will be celebrating because hunting of this apex predator has been stopped. We will cheer that the will of the people has been heard and grizzly bears will continue to honour us with their presence. My name is Craig Smith and I believe we have the power to choose the future of the grizzly bear. Craig Smith, Richmond