Tag Archives: grizzly bear poaching

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.


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.

Continue reading

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:

B.C.’s expanded grizzly hunt underway as scientists duel over bear numbers

A grizzly bear fishes along a river in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola, B.C. Friday, Sept 10, 2010. B.C.'s annual hunt is underway with an increase in the numbers of tags for hunters. Scientists on either side of the trophy hunt divide disagree sharply about the size of B.C.'s grizzly bear population. Photograph by: Jonathan Hayward, THE CANADIAN PRES

A grizzly bear fishes along a river in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola, B.C. Friday, Sept 10, 2010. B.C.’s annual hunt is underway with an increase in the numbers of tags for hunters. Scientists on either side of the trophy hunt divide disagree sharply about the size of B.C.’s grizzly bear population.
Photograph by: Jonathan Hayward, THE CANADIAN PRES



B.C.’s controversial grizzly bear hunt has begun, despite concerns from some in the scientific community who say the government’s population estimates could be flawed.

About 1,800 grizzly hunting tags are expected to be issued in B.C. this year — up from 1,700 tags last year, and the highest number in decades — although it is expected the actual number of bears killed will be closer to the annual average of about 300.

The province has also opened several areas previously closed to grizzly hunting for conservation reasons, including parts of the Kootenays.

But a recent study by the Raincoast Conservation Society that looked at B.C. grizzly hunting over a 10-year period from 2001 to 2011 found that “over-kill” (or an unsustainable mortality rate) occurred in about half of all hunting regions at some point during that time.

Raincoast biologist and Simon Fraser University PhD candidate Kyle Artelle, who was involved in the study, also questioned the B.C. government’s grizzly population estimates.

“The way the hunt is done it’s like trying to manage a bank account without knowing the balance,” he said.

In a letter published in March in Science, Artelle and his colleagues said provincial wildlife managers should be held to the same standard as research scientists, whose work must have independent oversight.

But the government pointed to its own peer-reviewed work, saying in a press release on the 2014 hunt that it is using the “best-available science to ensure harvest levels are sustainable.”

“I think we have the best idea (of the population) of any of the jurisdictions that hunt bears right now,” provincial grizzly biologist Garth Mowat said in an earlier interview.

“We have spent a lot of resources improving our understanding of the number of bears in British Columbia and I’m quite comfortable that it’s good enough to allow us to conservatively manage the hunt.”

For those who live in grizzly country, the hunt is part of the way of life.

“If you live in Vancouver, it’s easy to be against hunting,” said Horsefly resident David Farkas.

The man chased a grizzly out of his backyard last fall.

“We live with these animals,” he said. “People here love fishing and hunting.”

On the Kootenay Hunters & Fishers Facebook page several people have written about the 2014 grizzly hunt, some posting pictures of themselves with bears they’ve killed in the past. A petition connected to the page called Support the BC Grizzly Hunt has received almost 12,000 signatures since April 2012.

“Hunters and outdoorsmen have long been the true conservationists in Canada, North America, and the world,” the petition claims.

But bear guide Neil Shearar said he doesn’t believe that’s true.

“Conservation for the sake of making sure there’s enough animals to hunt isn’t really conservation,” he said, explaining that conservation that’s simply based on increasing a population, rather than restoring a balanced eco-system, can lead to problems for other species.

Shearar, who has been guiding on the B.C. coast for about 15 years, compared killing grizzlies to killing sharks for their fins.

“It’s trophy hunting,” he said. “People aren’t eating them. They’re shooting them for their head and paws.”

An online petition called Stop the Trophy Hunt has collected about 64,500 signatures since March 2010.

— With files from The Canadian Press





— About 35 per cent of British Columbia is closed to grizzly hunting.

— Historically, hunters have killed around 300 grizzly bears a year out of a population estimated by the B.C. government of 15,000, or a two per cent harvest rate.(  Bears Matter Note: This number is very controversial: Raincoast Conservation Foundation  Recent Report by Artelle et al published in Nature Journal says 15,000 to 8,000 is the spread of what is possible…no one knows for certain)http://www.nature.com/news/canadian-grizzly-bears-face-expanded-hunt-1.14914

— The grizzly bear hunt is the most intensively managed hunt of any species in the province.(Bears Matter Note:  Millions of  tax-payer dollars are used to administer the Trophy Killing of Grizzlies and 88% of British Columbians are opposed to it continuing -latest McAllister Research Poll-hunters included)

— About 1,800 tags are expected to be issued to hunters this year, up from 1,700 last year.(Bears Matter Note:  2012 New Hunter Initiation Program began  by gov’t to increase hunter numbers, no core safety course needed,  anyone can get a hunting license to ‘try it out’, 10yr olds can hunt w 18yr,-the woods are becoming a scary place and it has nothing to do with the animals that live there but the ‘new hunters and young hunters’ trying it out with little or no training’. Lots of subsidies for new hunters by govt to increase hunter numbers and sales of licenses and fees eventually )

— The spring grizzly hunt runs from April 1 to the end of May. The fall hunt begins Oct. 1 and continues into mid-November.(Bears Matter Note: Correction  in 2014/2015 Regulations state some hunts open April 1 to June 15 and Aug 15 to Nov 30)

— Source: B.C. Ministry of Forests

© Copyright (c) The Province

Bears Are My Neighbours, And You Wouldn’t Slaughter Your Neighbours by Chelsea Turner, Huffington Post


Watching a spirit bear at age two with my parents Jeff and Sue Turner on Princess Royal Island. (Photo: Charlie Russell)

Watching a spirit bear at age two with my parents Jeff and Sue Turner on Princess Royal Island. (Photo: Charlie Russell)

People ask me a lot why I stepped into the fight against bear trophy hunting (that is, killing bears for pleasure, then taking the head or paws as a “trophy”).

There is a stereotype about the sort of people who care about bears. They are made out to be sensitive city folk who can’t stomach the realities of life in the rest of B.C. “We must save those poor bears!” the Vancouverite exclaims over his $5 soy latte, having never seen a bear in his life, having no comprehension that small town B.C. is simply crawling with bears in need of firm government control.

That’s the stereotype anyway.

My story is not that simple. I live in Vancouver today, only a stones-throw from the urban thoroughfare of Granville Street, but I grew up outside a town of only 200 people, and spent large swaths of my childhood in the remote wilderness.

I’ve seen many hundreds of bears in my life. Grizzly bears grazing in the grassy foothills of the Rocky Mountains, mysterious white spirit bears slipping through the lush mossy trees of the Great Bear Rainforest, and curious black bears wandering across our lawn or climbing trees when spooked by our family’s Jack Russell terrier.

Bears to me are neighbours. They are not to be pitied and cooed over, not to be feared and warped into the hunter’s bogeyman. They are simply forces of nature. To see a grizzly bear in close proximity is to witness something so beautiful, so much a part of the landscape, that you can’t help but think, “This animal belongs here.” They are like the soul of the Earth made animate.

So how did I come to know bears this well?  Continue Reading at http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/british-columbia/   

Note from Bears Matter.. Sign and Share Petition http://tinyurl.com/ban-grizzly-hunt-2014 and/or email Premier@gov.bc.ca and you can find more action alerts and background on Bears Matter Action Page

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


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.