Grizzly involved in fatal attack on hunter will stay in K-Country with cub

By Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald September 11, 2014

Grizzly involved in fatal attack on hunter will stay in K-Country with cub

Richard Cross was killed by a grizzly bear in Kananaskis Country on the weekend. Officials have decided against destroying the bear responsible for his death, ruling it a defensive attack.

Photograph by: Facebook photo , Calgary Herald

A grizzly bear that killed a sheep hunter in Kananaskis Country on the weekend will be left in the area with her cub, after it was ruled a defensive attack.

On the weekend, Calgarian Rick Cross was walking alone along the Picklejar Creek trail when he was attacked and killed by the bear.

“It was definitely a defensive attack, not a predatory one,” said Glenn Naylor, district conservation officer with Kananaskis Country. “That was the main decision-making factor, but we have to look at all of the evidence and all possible scenarios first.

“The evidence clearly points to the fact that he out of the blue encountered this situation and the chain of events that happened pretty quickly.”

Cross was hunting for big horn sheep Saturday, but didn’t return home that night as expected. His family reported him missing to police Sunday morning and a search began immediately.

Officers found his backpack and rifle Sunday, but had to call off the search as darkness fell and bears were still in the area. They found his remains not far from his belongings a day later.

Naylor said the evidence shows that the bear responded defensively, both because of its cub and a freshly killed deer carcass in the area.

“It attacked Mr. Cross and the result was tragic. He was killed,” he said. “After he was no longer a threat, the bear left him alone. He wasn’t touched again.”

That led biologists with both Alberta Parks and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development to rule it a defensive attack.

“That was the conclusion that was arrived at by everyone,” he said, noting other options would have been to capture and relocate the bear, or destroy it.

Naylor said provincial officials have met with the Cross family about their decision to leave it alone.

“They were appreciative of all of our efforts,” he said. “They had no problem with the result.”

Kim Titchener, program director at Bow Valley WildSmart, said it’s the decision she expected.

“They have a great reputation for doing what’s right for wildlife and what’s right for public safety,” she said. “That bear isn’t a threat. She was doing what bears do.”

The Picklejar area will remain closed until the bear and her cub are finished feeding on the deer carcass.

EU court upholds seal fur ban!

The EU’s three-year-old ban on seal fur will remain intact after the bloc’s highest court threw out a legal challenge by the Canadian Inuit and the country’s fur trade.
The case had been brought by Inuit community group, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), and the Fur Institute of Canada, with both organizations claiming that their livelihood depends on the trade.
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More bears dying in Rockies

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

By Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald August 6, 2014

It’s been another challenging couple of weeks for bears in the Rockies.

In the past week, wildlife officials confirmed grizzly No. 138 lost her second cub. A tagged grizzly bear, No. 144, was spending time in Harvie Heights, a community on the boundary with Banff National Park.

And two black bears were hit on the highways in the national parks on the weekend, but it’s unknown whether either bear survived.

“It’s been a really tough year for roadside bears,” said Brianna Burley, human/wildlife conflict specialist with Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks.

So far, there have been 15 black bears hit on the highways — with at least seven of those bears dying from their injuries. An eighth black bear was hit and killed on the railway tracks.

In late July, a grizzly bear was also struck and killed by a vehicle on Highway 93 N.

The bear, No. 149, was struck around Hector viewpoint on July 21, but was only found a few days later after a mortality signal on its GPS collar went off.

“It looked like it had died from the impact,” said Burley, noting it was a young male bear they had been keeping a close eye on since the July long weekend when they kept it safe from traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway. “It’s so disappointing.”

Similarly, wildlife officials were disappointed to see that No. 138 — a female bear who emerged from her den around the Lake Louise ski hill — was without either of her two cubs late last week when she showed up near the townsite.

She had lost one of her cubs in mid-July due to predation. It’s believed a similar fate struck the second cub.

“We have our assumptions again that she got tangled up with the big males,” said Burley. “We’re not totally sure what happened.”

Another tagged bear from Banff National Park, No. 144, kept wildlife officials busy as it ate berries around the community of Harvie Heights, just outside of the national park boundary.

Provincial officials said the three-and-a-half year old male started making its way back west on Tuesday morning.

“He packed up his bags and moved to Banff,” said Dave Dickson, a Fish and Wildlife officer in Canmore.

Bear biologist Jay Honeyman said they will continue to monitor the bear with their counterparts within Banff National Park.

“We don’t want him in the residential area,” he said, noting they were able to haze the bear out of the area.

All of the collared bears are part of a joint project between Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific to come up with ways to reduce grizzly bear mortalities.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Comment: Grizzly bears more useful alive than dead

Grizzly photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Grizzly photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Chris Genovali / Times Colonist
July 17, 2014

One can only conclude that Naomi Yamamoto, provincial minister of tourism and small business, was poorly briefed with regard to the grizzly bear hunt after reading about her recent speech on Saltspring Island.

Having B.C.’s tourism minister put forth the notion that the proliferation of oilsands pipelines and oil tankers, along with the escalation of a host of other industrial-scale resource extraction activities, would somehow be compatible with a robust tourism industry based on the natural beauty of the province is dubious. But for Yamamoto to suggest that bear viewing is compatible with the trophy-killing of bears, and then disproportionately claim that the grizzly hunt is a chief economic driver for the province, is inexplicably out of touch.

Contrary to Yamamoto’s assertions, there is no ecological, ethical or economic justification for continuing to trophy-kill B.C.’s grizzly bears.

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

Paul Paquet, senior scientist at Raincoast Conservation Foundation, large carnivore expert and co-author of a 2013 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 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, 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.”

During her Saltspring appearance, Yamamoto attempted to downplay widespread public concern about the grizzly hunt by stating: “it’s not like a bear gets killed every day.”

Given that an average of 300 grizzlies and 3,900 black bears (according to the B.C. Wildlife Federation) are killed for trophies in B.C. annually, the minister’s statement is not only flippant, but callous to the disturbing amount of carnage inflicted on bears in this province every year for the most trivial of reasons — recreational trophy hunting.

The economic argument is clear — recent research by the Centre for Responsible Travel at Stanford University says that bear-viewing supports 10 times more employment, tourist spending and government revenue than trophy hunting in B.C.’s vast Great Bear Rainforest.

Notably, the CREST Stanford 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.

For Yamamoto to suggest that banning the grizzly bear hunt would jeopardize the province’s ability to “generate the extra revenue to pay for health care, education and all those things that people are demanding” is astoundingly off-base.

The 2014 CREST Stanford study reaffirms what Coastal First Nations, the eco-tourism industry and conservation groups like Raincoast have been pointing out for years — keeping grizzly bears alive generates significantly greater economic benefits than killing them via trophy hunting.

In 2003, Raincoast and the Centre for Integral Economics released the report Crossroads: Economics, Policy, and the Future of Grizzly Bears in British Columbia, which compared revenues generated by grizzly viewing versus grizzly hunting.

Even more than a decade ago, when the bear-viewing sector of the ecotourism industry was in its nascent stage, viewing grizzlies was bringing in about twice the annual revenue as grizzly hunting.

Our analysis showed that in the long term, it makes more economic sense to shoot grizzly bears with cameras than to shoot them with guns. Over the course of a grizzly’s life, the bear can be viewed and photographed hundreds of times, generating tremendous economic wealth for B.C.

However, a grizzly bear can only be shot and killed once.

Chris Genovali is executive director of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

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Stop the Massacre of Grizzly Bears in British Columbia, Canada. Stop the Grizzly Bear Hunt

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

People come to BC to hunt the grizzly bears on the estuaries where they are feeding, this is not sport. They shoot the eating bears from boats, take a paw or two and the head and leave the rest to rot on the estuary. Grizzly bears are already threatened in BC. The First nations People are against this hunt, the majority of the people in the province are against this hunt but the BC Liberal Government headed by Christie Clarke refuses to deal with the issue. The Guide and Outfitters Association of BC, the B.C. Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited and the Canadian Wildlife Federation are in fact powerful pro-hunting political lobby groups. The government of BC & Ms Clark is afraid to stand up to them because the Liberal Party will lose much needed cash in the form of political donations from these organizations. The solution is to get as many names as possible and contact the Premier of the Province of BC and demand that she stop the Grizzly Bear Hunt.

Sign the Petition:

Group can’t bear hunt’s return

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

By Brian Kelly, Sault Star

A Toronto-based animal rights group is taking a swing at David Orazietti for bringing the spring bear hunt out of hibernation after more than a decade.

The Sault Ste. Marie MPP, who was appointed minister of natural resources in February 2013, oversaw the hunt’s limited return with a two-year pilot program to eight Northern Ontario communities this year.

They were chosen because of a large number of bear and human incidents. Fifty communities passed resolutions wanting in on the pilot program. Orazietti calls the hunt’s return “an effective management tool.”

“I think we’re taking a very pragmatic approach, a very thoughtful and strategic approach in terms of this program,” he said, noting no questions on the issue have been asked by politicians at Queen’s Park since last fall. “I think we’ve reached a very effective and appropriate balance on this issue.”

Not so, contends Animal Alliance of Canada in a colour advertisement published in Saturday’s edition of The Sault Star and a pamphlet delivered to Sault Ste. Marie households last week.

“Orazietti tells people he did (the hunt’s return) for public safety reasons,” the ad reads. “But he knows that’s not true.”

The handout accuses Orazietti and Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne for “flagrantly” tossing aside environmental and animal protection laws and regulations “to serve their single minded goal of getting re-elected.”

The Liberals, in power provincially since 2003, have a worse environmental and animal protection record than the federal government, Animal Alliance argues.

The group suggests scientists with Orazietti’s ministry told him the hunt wouldn’t reduce problems with bears and humans.

Orazietti counters the Liberal government’s decision for a targeted hunt, after it was quashed outright by the Conservatives in 1999, has plenty of backers including civic, police and education leaders.

Mayor Debbie Amaroso and Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Chief Bob Davies appeared alongside the MPP when he announced the hunt’s return to eight wildlife management units in November. There are 94 units in Ontario.

“We did it for public safety reasons,” said Orazietti. “I think it’s insulting to Northerners to have a special interest group based out of Toronto attempting to dictate policy for Northerners, people in our community.”

He argues Ontario has a “very healthy, sustainable” black bear population of about 105,000 and that similar hunts take part in most Canadian provinces.

“I’m sure their (Animal Alliance staff) kids go to school and are able to go out for recess in a safe environment where there are not 400-pound black bears roaming their school yard,” said Orazietti. “That’s not safe and that’s not something we should be faced with in our community either.”

With a provincial election nearing on Thursday, the MPP says most voters he talks to at the 1,000-plus doors he’s knocked on are glad the hunt is back in the Sault, Sudbury, North Bay and Timmins. Some, Orazietti added, told him they would e-mail Animal Alliance to criticize its ad campaign.

Sault residents, he says, “know the realities of living in Northern Ontario (and are) fully aware of the potential safety risks of not effectively managing (the) black bear population well.”

“The number of people that are supporting what has been done here with our policy on this has been overwhelming,” said Orazietti.

Hunt opponents are concerned mother bears will be killed, leaving cubs orphaned and doomed to starve. Only male bears can be killed during the six-week hunt.

Its return doesn’t impress Josh Kerns either.

“There shouldn’t be an annual bear hunt to begin with,” he wrote on The Sault Star’s Facebook page. “Anybody who shoots animals for fun should be charged with animal cruelty.”

Animal Alliance is also critical of Ministry of Natural Resources for axing Bear Wise services including trapping and relocating problem bears.

Orazietti said packing up bruins and relocating them to the bush doesn’t work.

“It does not make sense to continue to operate the trap and relocate program when it’s not effective,” he said.

City police responded to several bear calls in the west end on Saturday. Locations include a business parking lot and housing complex on Second Line West, Nichol Avenue, Pittsburg Avenue and Edison Avenue.

Garbage and food sources shouldn’t be left out because they attract bears, police say.



‘I’m a redneck, it’s what we do for fun’: Canadian man accused of murdering four women told police he was covered in blood because he had clubbed a deer to death

An alleged serial killer told Canadian authorities who had pulled over his vehicle that he was covered in blood because he had just clubbed a deer to death, it has emerged.

But Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers knew there was more to the story when they stopped Cody Legebokoff, 24, for speeding on a rural road near Prince George, British Columbia.

He is now on trial for the murders of Loren Leslie, 15, Jill Stuchenko, 35, Cynthia Maas, 35, and Natasha Montgomery, 23, who all died in 2009 or 2010.

Legebokoff had allegedly just killed Leslie, whom he met after they chatted online, when he was pulled over on a quiet stretch of highway on November 27, 2010, the National Post reported.

RCMP Constable Aaron Kehler, who was just a rookie at the time, had spotted the truck speeding through a forest and thought it was strange when the vehicle didn’t slow down when it hit the highway.

He guessed that the driver was speeding so signaled for him to stop and waited for another officer,
K.P. Sidhu, to meet him. The two constables had been about to meet to exchange a lost purse.

When they approached the vehicle, Legebokoff had blood smears on his face and chin, blood on his legs and a pool of blood on the driver’s mat. But it was an open beer can that allowed the constables to conduct a thorough search of the truck under the Liquor Control Licence Act, the Post reported.

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Controversial bear hunt reinstated in Ontario

WBFO’s Dan Karpenchuk reports1467382_575553635851437_268599181_n

After 15 years, Ontario’s spring bear hunt is on again, on an experimental basis. It began on May 1, despite an 11th hour legal bid by animal rights groups to prevent it.

The case to bring back the hunt was based on years of complaints from organizations and residents who say there have been more dangerous human-bear encounters since the hunt was canceled in 1999.

The case against the hunt was made by the Animal Alliance of Canada and Zoocheck Canada. Lawyers for the groups argued that an early hunt violates animal cruelty laws; cubs could be orphaned and then die of starvation or be killed by predators.

They went to court arguing for a judicial review, but just a day before it was to begin, an Ontario judge dismissed that legal attempt to block or delay the hunt.

Ontario’s natural resources minister says he is pleased with the decision, saying the priority from the start was for the public safety of people in the north. Fish and Game groups also praised the decision, saying the hunt is the only one tool for managing the bear population and without it, the number of dangerous encounters will increase.

The animal rights groups say they are disappointed but will continue to fight against the hunt by careful monitoring and perhaps even having members out observing the hunting.

The pilot project to reinstate the hunt will run for six weeks in eight regions known for having the most public safety incidents involving bears.

Run! It’s huge wolves from Canada!

May 3, 2014

It has been brought to my attention that some Canadians aren’t nearly as nice as I had thought.

Oh, the humans of that neighborly nation are every bit as affable as we’ve always believed. But I’m here to warn you that giant Canadian wolves are a far different matter.

I was reading a letter to the editor the other day in which a worried gentleman from the USA insisted that the wolves who have been reintroduced into the United States are actually Canadian wolves.

“These are not timber wolves like we had here years ago,” the guy warned. “These are Canadian wolves that are three and four times as big.”

That gets my attention. The wolves we used to have were about the size of a collie. Four times that would be a wolf about the size of a pony. How would you like to bump into something in the forest that resembles a pony with fangs?

Every few years, I see letters to the editor like that, (sometimes warning me against Bigfoot at the same time). I get curious and take a look at the latest reports on the Internet to see how many humans those cruel critters have killed recently.

For about the last 50 years, the figures are a grand total of eight fatal attacks on humans in Europe and Russia. But oddly enough, there have been no wolf-induced deaths of humans in North America in the past half century. And if you remember your third-grade geography you will know that North America includes Canada.

So if anything, wolves are less likely to kill us than cougars, bears and giant Canadian tsetse flies. So what’s going on here? The problem isn’t that big hulking Canadian wolves are killing people left and right. The wolves haven’t killed anybody on this continent for decades.

But they have killed plenty of elk and sheep and calves, and that’s a legitimate problem for hunters and ranchers.

Isn’t it enough for a hunter or a rancher to warn people of actual, normal-sized wolves without trying to scare the pants off everybody?

I sometimes sit and watch our two cats romping around the house, practicing their predatory ways. If house cats are ever bred up to dimensions three or four times larger than their present size, muscle them out of the house and call the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

But beware lest the Mounties are riding Canadian-sized wolves.

However that’s probably not going to happen. If there really are Canadian wolves three or four times the size of our former wolves, then we are in deep trouble.

If our original wolves were four feet long, two feet tall and weighed 100 pounds, then the giant Canadian wolves would be 15 feet long, eight feet tall, 400 pounds and much too fond of human flesh.

But I will grant those among you who are personally terrified of wolves that maybe there is something in the water up there that should concern everyone in North America, including Mexicans.

This whole business worries me. I have friends in Canada. And that agitated letter writer makes me wonder about my friend Greg, a Canadian newspaper editor, who has been astute enough to carry this column for years. I have corresponded with Greg though I have never met him in the flesh. But now I wonder about the possibility of everything being massively bigger up there — mountains, salmon, wheat production and maybe even Greg.

Please don’t tell me he is three to four times larger than newspaper editors down here, though that may be true of his great heart. After all, he is a Canadian.