Tag Archives: Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant

Bryce Casavant Replies to BC Wildlife Federation’s Alan Martin

http://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/opinion-finding-our-bearings-a-gentle-yet-grizzly-rebuttal

I recognize that this is a difficult time for trophy hunters in B.C. Change is never easy. However, this does not mean we invent alternative facts to support rhetoric. In his opinion piece published in The Vancouver Sun on Dec. 27, Alan Martin has made multiple factually incorrect assertions to support the continuance of grizzly bear hunting. In an effort to correct misinformation, I would like to point out the following:

First, a B.C.-based independent polling company (Insights West) conducted a public survey in 2015 which found that 91 per cent of British Columbians opposed the trophy hunting of grizzly bears.

Second, following the 2017 provincial election, the new government conducted a public consultation process between September and October. The purpose was to solicit comments from all British Columbians regarding the management of grizzly bears. Over 4,000 responses were recorded. Of these responses received by government, over 78 per cent opposed the continued hunting of grizzly bears.

Therefore, a factually correct presentation would be to state: “A public survey found that 91 per cent of British Columbians oppose the trophy hunting of grizzly bears. Additionally, following a public consultation process, some 4,000 comments were received by the government of B.C., of which over 78 per cent opposed the hunting of grizzly bears.”

From these two points, a general argument is made that the hunting of grizzly bears is no longer socially acceptable by broader B.C. society.

Third, the B.C. Auditor-General never stated that hunting was not a threat to grizzly bear sustainability. Although the AG recognized that habitat loss was the most critical factor affecting grizzly bear populations, in no way is that meant to infer that hunting grizzly bears is a sustainable practice. To infer such a contention is to gravely misrepresent the findings of the review. Overall, the Auditor-General found that serious improvements to grizzly bear management were required.

Martin cites a dictionary to define the term “populist” and argues that the new NDP government is simply siding with the flavour of the day in order to gain votes and political support. Respectfully, I disagree. What I would suggest instead is that we are witnessing a change in societal values. I further argue that this change has led the new government to consider social values, scientific arguments, and the recommendations made by the B.C. Auditor-General — that the most appropriate dictionary word to describe the recent policy decision is not “populist” but rather “responsible” and most certainly “rational”.

Environmental management should be governed by the values of our society. And to be sure, these values will change over time. While we use science, experience, history and knowledge to inform government policy direction, ultimately, it is the values of the society we live in that progress over time and changes the manner in which we are governed. Call it democracy.

Having said all this, I must admit, I agree with Martin on one point: Inclusive of urban expansion, habitat loss, rail and highway mortalities, dwindling salmon stocks, and conflicts with humans, the plight of B.C.’s grizzly bears is far from restricted to the actions of hunting alone. However, where we differ is that I see hunting as a cumulative effect to a species that is already under immense pressure to find a new home and food. We can control the cumulative effect of hunting with the simple action of not pulling the trigger — if we do shoot, use a camera and kill only time. Our trophies should be memories and pictures. The only thing left behind in the bush should be our footprints in the sand, not a bloody, skinless and headless carcass.

Bryce Casavant is a former B.C. Conservation Officer who made international headlines in 2015 when he refused to kill two bear cubs. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Royal Roads University, studying public trust and wildlife co-existence in B.C.

link to Letter in Vancouver Sun by Alan Martin of the B.C. Wildlife Federation

Opinion: Populism and grizzly bears

Bryce Casavant: Aiming for Change & Grizzly Bear Management & Conservation Officer Service

http://www.brycecasavant.ca/2017/11/01/aiming-change-update-regarding-grizzly-bear-management-bc/

The deadline for the public consultation process on the Grizzly Bear hunt is tomorrow (November 2nd 2017). During the month long window for public comments the Auditor General (AG) released ( see in Bears Matter Blog postings) their audit report pertaining to BC’s management of Grizzly Bears. This blog and the PDF link below,- http://www.brycecasavant.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/In-Defence-of-a-Fallen-King-formal-submission.-1.pdf are my submissions to the MFLNRORD public consultation process regarding Grizzly Bear management.

The PDF file referenced below is an updated version of my previous work In Defence of a Fallen King which was written as a submission to the AG during her investigation. The update includes my thoughts on two points raised within the AG report, and maintains my critique of BC’s so called “scientific review” under the previous government administration.

The two points that I will focus on are, 1) the independence of internal reviews conducted by consultants, and 2) the Conservation Officer Service and its relationship to species conservation. Within this update I reference my recently released essay To Conserve and Protect and provide a preliminary look at a soon to be released technical report pertaining to public confidence levels and wildlife law enforcement in BC. Some main take away points from this update are:

I recommend that a special conflict of interest or ethics guideline/policy be developed for public servants engaged with work on the grizzly bear file or in the development of formal BC policy on this issue.
I maintain that providing additional funding and officers into the current COS model is not advisable due to internal cultural issues and processes which I addressed in my recent essay To Conserve and Protect.
I argue that the model of the COS needs to change before overall public confidence can be increased and maintained.
I contend that it is not realistic to think that an officer who is a licensed hunter, and in some cases a trophy hunter himself/herself, can avoid a reasonable apprehension of bias when deciding to kill a grizzly bear.
In reference to the BCCOS involved in funding allocation to WildSafe BC – I posit that from a law enforcement and integrity perspective, it is problematic to have armed officers that are licensed hunters, in some cases trophy hunters, who are also members of the BCWF and overseeing/making recommendations for government funding to BCWF wildlife programs and their affiliates. This, in my view, is a conflict of interest for law enforcement. For this reason, I would recommend an independent panel be responsible for directing, monitoring, and assessing/evaluating the programs that the government funds. The COS should not be responsible or involved.
In the final portion of my update I state that my soon to be released report, Law Gone Wild, will show that 1 in 5 British Columbians will have an interaction with either the COS or RCMP over a wildlife concern, some of these interactions will be grizzly bears. I will argue that the fact 20% of the BC population is involved in calling enforcement agencies for wildlife issues means that public trust in 20% of the BC population can be influenced by a single officer’s actions, at a single moment in time, and when handling a single animal. All managers and politicians should take this fact very seriously. The public’s confidence in the agency and officer’s responding is paramount to the maintenance of overall public trust.
As always, I’m only an email away. Bryce@BryceCasavant.ca

Contact: Bryce J. Casavant, CMAS, MA

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are my own and do not reflect the views of the BC Public Service or its ministries.

Bryce Casavant is a Senior Compliance and Enforcement Specialist with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development. He is a former BC Conservation Officer and Special Provincial Constable. Bryce is a decorated military veteran and Doctoral Candidate at Royal Roads University’s Doctor of Social Sciences Program. His research focus is on public trust and wildlife policing in BC. Bryce was a candidate for the New Democratic Party in the 2017 BC Provincial Elections.

References: PDF In Defence of a Fallen King updated 2017

 

April 1’17 Rally to End the ‘Grizzly’ Hunt -Videos of Speakers

1. Val Murray, Justice for BC Grizzlies and Organizer of Rally www.justiceforbcgrizzlies.com

2. Trish Boyum, Ocean Adventures Chartered Tours

3. Bryce Casavant, NDP Candidate Oak Bay-Gordon Head

4. Jens Wieting, Sierra Club of B.C.

5. Donna Johnson, Wuikinuxv Nation

6. Sonia Furstenau – Green Candidate

7. Jordan Reichert, Animal Protection Party of Canada

Published on Apr 4, 2017
Justice for BC Grizzlies organized the April 1st Rally for B.C. Grizzlies, bringing citizens together to pressure the government to end the Trophy Hunt of Grizzly Bears in BC. Justice for BC Grizzlies is a diverse grassroots movement of BC residents. We share a common concern over the brutal killing of Grizzly Bears in a lottery hunt that takes place twice each year. Together we are making the grizzly hunt an election issue in BC. #grizzlies #grizzly #endthehunt #trophyhunt

Stopthetrophyhuntlogo

 

 

 

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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