Tag Archives: David Suzuki Foundation

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.
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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

B.C. Government gets Failing Grades in Grizzly Bear Management by Dr. Faisal Moola

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.

By Faisal Moola, Director General, Ontario and Northern Canada

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/panther-lounge/2014/03/bc-government-gets-failing-grades-in-grizzly-bear-management/

A century ago, 35,000 grizzly bears lived in British Columbia and also flourished from Alaska to Mexico, and east to Ontario. Today, only about 15,000 grizzly bears inhabit B.C., having disappeared from the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan and around Fort St. John.

Despite being large and ferocious, 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.

Bear experts have long known that if we want to keep grizzlies on the landscape, we must protect their habitat and ensure that the animals are not needlessly killed by humans. These two strategies are at the core of British Columbia’s official policy, the Grizzly Bear Strategy, which has guided management practices in the province since 1995. The ambitious strategy outlines steps to sustain the province’s bears with healthy populations and recover those with declining populations. It requires the government to protect bear habitat in a network of “grizzly bear management areas” where resource development is prevented and/or strictly managed, hunting is prohibited and risk-related recreational activities — such as off-highway vehicle use — are controlled. The plan also recognizes that human-caused mortality must be reduced and kept below sustainable thresholds by conservatively managing the grizzly bear sport hunt.

Our peer-reviewed study found that the government has not delivered on the plan’s goals because it has failed to implement it. The study includes a report card, which found that although progress has been made in developing more accurate population estimates (grade: C), increasing scientific knowledge about grizzly bears (grade: B) and improving public awareness of the species (grade: C), little has been done to implement the Grizzly Bear Strategy to protect grizzly bear habitat (grade: D-) or prevent overkilling of bears, including in the province’s controversial trophy hunt (grade: D). The government was also given a D grade for its inability to maintain the abundance and diversity of grizzly bears.

The B.C. government’s failure to manage grizzly bears effectively under its own policies is having disastrous consequences for the health of the species. Nine sub-populations are now on the verge of extinction, and scientists maintain that the government’s controversial trophy hunt is leading to widespread overkilling of bears.

Despite these alarming findings, government leaders continue to claim that the species is well-managed. This is a tired refrain we’ve heard before with government sanctioned overharvesting responsible for the cod collapse off the East Coast. Other species, such as woodland caribou in the north, have lost habitat to industrial development. By the time government took action, both species were well on their way to disappearing in some areas.

Today’s study is a wake-up call for the B.C government to adopt a precautionary approach to managing bear populations. The good news is that in places such as the U.S., where plans protected and managed the species, grizzly populations have become self-sustaining in places where only a few decades ago they had been written off.

You can help by sending a message to our political leaders that they must protect this iconic species before it’s too late.