Tag Archives: species of concern

The Lens of Choice by Justice for BC Grizzlies

2015 09 05_0774
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

2015 09 05_0558

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/

 

Bear Viewing Today and Always posted by Justice for BC Grizzlies

 

2015 09 05_0715

“ I’m afraid to even breathe.”

This, uttered in the smallest of whispers by a substantially large, typically exuberant Australian fellow sitting next to me in our open skiff, as we quietly bobbed offshore from where a young female Grizzly Bear dined on her stick full of breakfast mussels.

It’s what happens when I view grizzlies on their home range. It makes me want to hold my breath, to keep the spell going; it’s downright intoxicating.

Many people have never seen a grizzly close enough to actually observe their behavior, hear them chew and huff, see them scent the wind and gain a sense of the individuality of these creatures. They look so different from one another in colour, markings, body language and general carriage. They are intensely focused on food, which stands to reason when you consider how much grass, grubs, mice, bark, mushrooms, bulbs, insects, fruit, seeds, carrion and fish (sometimes) it takes to fill a bear’s belly. With plenty of food and no threats, they just go about their business.

Likely, most politicians have never observed a bear in such a way. In fact, the image of grizzlies that they hold may be rooted in misconceptions of fear and misunderstanding. Yet these same politicians are making policy decisions about the fate of grizzlies.

Re-framing mindsets about Grizzly Bears is a service to humanity. Consider this: that magical moment of wanting to whisper in the presence of a grizzly touches part of our brain that soothes the “fight or flight” response and bathes the nervous system with compassion and understanding. We make better decisions in such a state; that’s good for us and good for the grizzlies.

Caring about Grizzly Bears is a window into caring for all of Nature, of which we all are part.

by Valerie Murray for https://JusticeforBCGrizzlies June 21, 2016

Martyn Brown: The Grisly (Grizzly) Business of Trophy Hunting in Super, Natural British Columbia

To Comment and to view photos go to: http://www.straight.com/news/724881/martyn-brown-grisly-business-trophy-hunting-super-natural-british-columbia

Martyn Brown: The grisly business of trophy hunting in Super, Natural British Columbia
une 24th, 2016 at 3:40 PM
Martyn Brown is was the long-serving chief of staff to former premier Gordon Campbell.

Imagery abounds. Golden fields of swaying wheat. Lush green vineyards of plump, perfect grapes. Acres of apples, all red and delicious. Harvest: so suggestive of humans in harmony with the Earth.

So redolent of life.

So much more super and natural than, I don’t know—slaughter?—the word that more accurately describes British Columbia’s annual grizzly bear trophy hunt.

Actually, even that word isn’t quite accurate, for it connotes the killing of animals for food.

Grizzly bears—like black bears, cougars, wolves, lynxes, bobcats, and wolverines–are legally “harvested” without any expectation that their meat will be eaten by people.

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Disgraceful Photo and Practise of Killing Grizzlies for just their heads and photo op!

Bears Matter added: Poster fr BC Guide Outfitters materials in 2013!

Letter copied to Bears Matter and reproduced with permission:

Subject: Super, Natural British Columbia and trophy hunting
Date: March 25, 2016 at 11:14:55 AM PDT
To: shirley.bond.mla@leg.bc.ca
Cc: premier@gov.bc.ca

Dear Minister Bond,
I’ve lived and worked in British Columbia all my life and every day am grateful to have been born here. The recently launched Destination B.C. materials showcase our province’s people, the animals, the communities and pristine wild spaces and I think “yes, this is what my home looks like”.

But there is a glaring disconnect between what the material portrays of B.C. wildlife and the continued legal practice of trophy hunting in this province. It’s a serious schism. Killing wild animals for sport or trophy is a violent, disrespectful practice that certainly wouldn’t be included in tourism materials. This highlights a glaring misalignment of attitudes toward our wild species that needs to be remedied.

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Pacific Wild on The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement: Unfiltered

PWGrizzlyMomCub'14

http://pacificwild.org/news-and-resources/great-bear-blog/the-great-bear-rainforest-agreement-unfiltered

Today, on behalf of Pacific Wild, and in the interest of setting our course for the miles still ahead, I offer the following reflections on the 2016 Great Bear Rainforest Agreement.

I have been asked for my opinion of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement (GBRA) several times over the last 48 hours.

As I’m sure many people reflecting on this agreement in public and private can relate, synthesizing your thoughts for a media sound byte is challenging at the best of times – more so when you are attempting to address the complexity of a multi-stakeholder agreement many years in the making.

Before the announcement was formalized on Monday, the Heiltsuk Tribal Council released this very pragmatic statement, describing their view of the agreement. If there is one sound byte that trumps them all, I respectfully nominate this one: “We are grateful for a step down the right path. It is the first of many miles yet to walk.”

Looking forward

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