Tag Archives: Raincoast Conservation Society

BC Almanac Podcast with Justice for BC Grizzlies and Others on August 17, 2016

Copy of val - Copy                JusticeforBCGrizzliesLogo

Val Murray  of Justice for BC Grizzlies      Logo for Justice for BC Grizzlies

Listen to podcast at 17:20mark to hear arguments from all sides re: grizzly hunt in BC  – Introducing the new concerned citizen’s group Justice for BC Grizzlies

podcast.cbc.cahttp://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/podcasts/bcalmanac_20160817_31168.mp3

Go to: www.justiceforbcgrizzlies.com. Facebook: @justiceforbcgrizzlies  Twitter @justice4bcgrizz email: justiceforbcgrizzlies@telus.net

 

 

 

Grizzly Group Takes Aim at Trophy Hunting, Sets Sights on Provincial Election Candidates

Jacequeline as AmbassadorJustice for BC Grizzlies supplied photo

By Judith Lavoie • Monday, August 15, 2016 – 11:15

http://www.desmog.ca/2016/08/15/grizzly-group-takes-aim-trophy-hunting-sets-sights-provincial-election-candidates

Above the stone fireplace in the comfortable Saanich home, photos of grizzly bears are pinned in a casual collage.

Cubs are shown frolicking in the grass, a curious bear stands on his hind legs looking through a camera lens and, jarringly, at the top, is a massive grizzly lying lifeless in the grass, eyes closed, claws digging into the dirt, as two jubilant hunters smile into the camera.

The photo, typical of those found in hunting magazines that promote the chance to travel to Super, Natural B.C. to kill grizzles, provokes a visceral response among hunt opponents and a newly-formed group wants to harness that gut reaction.

Justice for B.C. Grizzlies is led by a small core of volunteers who, for years, have tried to end the trophy hunt by arguing the facts — such as the uncertainty of population numbers, studies that show bear viewing generates far more in visitor spending than bear hunting and — what should be the clincher for politicians, but, curiously seems to be ignored — polls clearly demonstrate that British Columbians are overwhelmingly against the hunt.

Continue reading

Guilty Plea from Clayton Stoner, $10K Fine & 3 yr Hunting Ban

Protesters against illegal poaching and hunting gather outside B.C. Provincial Court before Anaheim Ducks defenceman Clayton Stoner was expected to enter a plea in Vancovuer Friday Nov. 13, 2015. Stoner is charged with five counts under the Wildlife Act after a grizzly bear was killed on the central coast in 2013. Photograph by: Darryl Dyck, CP

Protesters against illegal poaching and hunting gather outside B.C. Provincial Court before Anaheim Ducks defenceman Clayton Stoner was expected to enter a plea in Vancovuer Friday Nov. 13, 2015. Stoner is charged with five counts under the Wildlife Act after a grizzly bear was killed on the central coast in 2013.
Photograph by: Darryl Dyck, CP

Update by Bears Forever Organization on the Outcome of the Clayton Stoner Case.  He was found guilty of holding a resident Limited Entry Hunt tag for a grizzly bear when he was not a resident of the province at that time …Mr. Stoner was fined $10,000 and banned from hunting in B.C. for three years. From facebook page of Bears Forever https://www.facebook.com/bearsforeverbc

As everyone celebrates Clayton Stoner being sentenced today, here are some things to bear in mind:

 

1) Trophy hunting is not illegal under Settler law. Stoner has simply been found guilty of hunting with the wrong kind of license. We need to make this illegal under Settler law so the activity stops completely.

2) Stoner is also guilty of contravening the Indigenous ban on trophy hunting under Indigenous law, and the Settler courts have no jurisdiction over that.

3) No one would have caught Stoner in the first place if First Nations hadn’t been investing their money and energy in monitoring hunt activity. The Province has NO capacity to effectively regulate or monitor the hunt. That burden falls to us.

4) Justice for the Grizzly shot by Stoner, is important. But what we’re fighting for with the Bears Forever campaign is justice for ALL bears. That won’t happen until the province regulates an end to the hunt. And we won’t stop our work until they do.

You can find out more about what we’re doing at bearsforever.ca

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:

Coastal Guardian Watchmen confront armed trophy hunters to save grizzlies

“Sometimes it gets nasty,” said Jason Moody, a patroller from Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola.http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/coastal-guardian-watchmen-confront-armed-trophy-hunters-save-grizzlies
Coastal Guardian Watchmen Grizzly bear hunt
Coastal Guardian Watchmen on the lookout for trophy hunters on the Great Bear Rainforest coast in 2010. Photo by Doug Neasloss with Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation.

Patrolling up and down British Columbia’s coast with binoculars are a group of dedicated First Nations volunteers that boat right up to armed hunters, often American, in their vessels to dissuade them from killing at-risk grizzlies just for sport. 

Called the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, they urge unsuspecting trophy hunters to halt their pursuit of grizzlies as insensitive to First Nations culture, and against tribal law.

“Sometimes it gets nasty,” said Jason Moody, a patroller from Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola.

“Sometimes you get [trophy hunters] realizing, ‘OK, you guys don’t want the hunting around here. We’ll go somewhere else.’”

Foreign hunters from places like Virginia and Texas pay thousands of dollars to come to B.C.—to be in one of the few places left where the fourth-largest carnivore on the planet can be shot for a trophy head or a bear rug.  

Many trophy hunters don’t like the altercations with the now 16 native patrollers on the coast.

“It gets tense. Usually just having a presence is enough,” says William Housty, who chairs the Heltisiuk First Nation resource management office in Bella Bella, and coordinates many of the indigenous watchmen.

Housty’s biggest worry is intoxicated hunters harming his crews that double as field researchers, quietly collecting grizzly-hair DNA in the woods.

“If there are drunk hunters walking around drinking Jack Daniels — who is to say they won’t shoot one our researchers. That’s one of our biggest beefs with the province,” he said.

The Guardian Watchmen do not have the legal powers to board vessels or enforce conservation laws, but they wish they did. Provincial officers, the Coast Guard and the RCMP are not seen often enough, said Housty.

And many hunters they come across are not carrying provincial licences. 

“A lot of the people who come up here don’t actually have tags. They’re poachers,” said Housty.

The wildlife manager recalled an infamous incident in 2013 when NHL player Clayton Stoner let some coastal watchmen on board the famous hockey player’s boat to photograph the defencemen’s recent grizzly kill.

NHL Clayton Stoner grizzly beheaded

NHL defenceman Clayton Stoner posing with a beheaded grizzly in 2013.  Photo by Coastal Guardian Watchmen.

The head and claws were removed, and Stoner smiled for the watchmen’s photo snaps that would soon become national news material.

“He let himself be an idiot poster child for the trophy hunt,” laughed Housty.   

Stoner defended his bear kill at the time.

“I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting licence through a British Columbia limited-entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my licence while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May,” the hockey star said in a statement. 

But since that media spectacle, many watchmen admit they’ve only been partly successful in slowing the trophy hunt.   

The Guide Outfitters Association says as long as it is kept legal by the B.C. government, their members will continue flying in high-paying hunting clients to kill grizzlies.

“While we try to accommodate [aboriginal] wishes, but until they have jurisdiction, the authority around it is the Crown,” says the association’s executive director Scott Ellis.  

“Our guys are still going to operate their businesses.” 

But Coastal First Nations are now threatening legal action to put an end to the industry.

Why Does B.C. Government So Desperately Want Grizzly Bears Dead? by Chris Genovali

Mother & Cub on cliff edge
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/chris-genovali/bc-grizzly-bear-hunt_b_5155807.html?utm_hp_ref=tw
We want these bears dead. This is the message the B.C. government’s “reallocation policy” sends to Raincoast Conservation Foundation, British Columbians, and Canadians across the country. This policy is also preventing the implementation of an innovative solution to end the commercial trophy hunting of grizzlies and other large carnivores throughout B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest.

With the mismanaged, and some would say depraved, B.C. grizzly bear hunt having commenced this month, the ongoing controversy surrounding the recreational killing of these iconic animals is spiking once again.

In 2001, a hard-won, Raincoast-led moratorium on grizzly hunting in B.C. was overturned by Gordon Campbell’s newly elected Liberal government with no justification other than serving as an obvious sop to the trophy hunting lobby. So, what was supposed to be a three-year, province-wide ban was revoked after one spring hunting season. Raincoast, recognizing the then new premier’s mulish intractability on this issue, decided to take a different approach.

In 2005, Raincoast raised $1.3 million to purchase the commercial trophy hunting rights across 24,700 square kilometers of the Great Bear Rainforest. In 2012, Raincoast purchased an additional 3,500 square kilometers, including nearly all the habitat of the spirit bear. (Despite a restriction on killing spirit bears, trophy hunting of black bears that carry the recessive gene that causes the white coat is allowed).

The sellers of these hunting tenures received a fair price, bears and wolves were safeguarded, and ecotourism prospered, including within coastal First Nations communities.

The province has countered by instituting a so-called reallocation policy (a.k.a., “the Raincoast policy”), whereby unused (i.e., not killed) grizzly bear “quota” would be stripped from Raincoast’s commercial tenures and allocated to resident hunters (i.e., B.C. residents who do not require a licenced hunting guide by law).

Bereft of any legitimate argument to justify the recreational killing of grizzlies, provincial wildlife managers stand naked in front of an increasingly disgusted and disapproving public, their blatant cronyism on behalf of the trophy hunting lobby exposed for all to see.

The ecological argument is clear; killing bears for “management” purposes is unnecessary and scientifically unsound. Although ongoing attempts are made to dress up the province’s motivations in the trappings of their proverbial “sound science“, they are clearly driven by an anachronistic ideology that is disconcertingly fixated on killing as a legitimate and necessary tool of wildlife management.

Dr. Paul Paquet, senior scientist at Raincoast and co-author of a recently published peer-reviewed paper on B.C. bear management, states, “We analyzed only some of the uncertainty associated with grizzly management and found it was likely contributing to widespread overkills. I’m not sure how the government defines sound science, but an approach that carelessly leads to widespread overkills is less than scientifically credible.”

The ethical argument is clear; gratuitous killing for recreation and amusement is unacceptable and immoral. Polling shows that nine out of 10 British Columbians agree, from rural residents (including many hunters) to city dwellers. In their 2009 publication, “The Ethics of Hunting”, Drs. Michael Nelson and Kelly Millenbah state that if wildlife managers began “to take philosophy and ethics more seriously, both as a realm of expertise that can be acquired and as a critical dimension of wildlife conservation, many elements of wildlife conservation and management would look different.”

The economic argument is clear; recent research by Stanford University and the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) identifies that bear viewing supports 10 times more employment, tourist spending, and government revenue than trophy hunting within the Great Bear Rainforest.

Notably, the Stanford-CREST study suggests the revenue generated by fees and licences affiliated with the trophy killing of grizzlies fails to cover the cost of the province’s management of the hunt. As a result, B.C. taxpayers, most of whom oppose the hunt according to poll after poll, are in essence being forced to subsidize the trophy killing of grizzlies.

What remains unclear is why the B.C. government so desperately wants these bears dead.

Raincoast stands ready to raise the funds to acquire the remaining commercial hunting tenures in the Great Bear Rainforest, a mutually beneficial solution that the guide outfitters have indicated they will not oppose. Although the province, at their own political peril, has failed to recognize it, Coastal First Nations have banned trophy hunting under their own laws throughout their unceded territories, and the public is overwhelmingly in support.

Buying out the remaining hunting tenures in the Great Bear Rainforest, coupled with the administrative closure of resident hunting in the region, would create the largest grizzly bear reserve in the world and a model for sustainable economic activity.

A version of this article previously ran in the Vancouver Sun.