First Nations hunters to be exempt from B.C. grizzly ban

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-ends-grizzly-bear-hunt-calls-it-no-longer-socially-acceptable/article37367514/

The Globe and Mail

A sub adult grizzly bear chases down a salmon near Klemtu, B.C., on Aug. 29, 2015.

JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

British Columbia is banning grizzly-bear hunting with the lone exception of First Nations hunters, who will be allowed to hunt the bears for food, social, or ceremonial reasons. The policy drew praise from B.C. environmentalists and threats of legal action from hunters.

The province’s environment and forests ministers announced the ban on Monday, saying they were acting on the basis of a program of consultation with stakeholder groups, the public and First Nations, most of whom recommended a ban to protect the bears.

“It’s no longer socially acceptable to the vast majority of British Columbians to hunt grizzly bears,” said Doug Donaldson, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources. The government estimates there are about 15,000 grizzlies in the province.

The move follows, and effectively expands, an August commitment to end the trophy hunting of grizzly bears and stop all hunting of grizzly bears in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Mr. Donaldson told a news conference he did not expect that the continuing First Nations hunt would kill many bears, suggesting there are less than 100 hunters who use bears for food. He said about 250 bears were killed a year by resident and non-resident hunters.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs said he welcomed the ban because he supported an end to the “barbaric practice” of hunting the animals. He said few members of the First Nations community are involved in hunting the bears.

In response to a question from The Globe and Mail, the forests ministry said First Nations guides would not be able to facilitate access to grizzly bears for non-native hunters.

Mr. Donaldson said the government would look at transition measures for businesses affected by the ban, including easing businesses into the effort to observe grizzlies as opposed to hunting them, but provided no further details.

Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee environmental group called the measure “tremendous news” that sets a global example. “This is worldwide news,” Mr. Foy told reporters after the government announcement, declaring British Columbia one of the world’s great hopes to hold onto the species.

“Some nations still allow trophy hunting for big beautiful creatures. This is a word out to the world that says times are changing and changing because so many creatures are on the decline. We’ve got to start to look out for them, not kill them for fun.”

However, Mark Werner, vice-president of the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C., whose members are involved in hunting grizzlies, cougars, wolves and other animals, said from Kamloops that the New Democratic government has abandoned rural British Columbia with the ban – a move he said will affect hundreds of jobs.

“This isn’t done. We know where they stand. We’re looking at legal options,” he said. “This will end up in the courts.”

Scott Ellis, executive director of the outfitters association, said he expected the government move will negatively affect about 100 B.C. family businesses.

Provincial Environment Minister George Heyman said the ban will be enforced by conservation officers, although he acknowledged they are “understaffed” and the issue of resources is being assessed as part of the process leading to the next provincial budget in February. “I won’t preshadow the federal budget, but we’ll be happy to talk about it at that time,” Mr. Heyman said.

In remarks addressed to hunters, Mr. Donaldson said the NDP knows hunting is important to many British Columbians. “This is not the thin edge of the wedge,” he said. “This is a specific species, an iconic species.”

Existing penalties for illegally killing grizzly bears will be applied under the new status quo. Under the Wildlife Act, tickets are $345. In what the ministry described in a statement as more extreme cases, a first conviction in court can lead to a fine of up to $100,000 or a one-year jail sentence.

__________________________________________

Also: Breaking news: British Columbia strengthens ban on trophy hunting of grizzly bears

by Wayne Pacelle,
December 18, 2017 

Today, British Columbia’s New Democratic Party government delivered on its campaign promise and more by announcing a provincial ban on trophy hunting of grizzly bears, even if the hunters involved claim they eat the meat of the animal. The NDP, in cooperation with the Green Party, ousted the Liberals in elections earlier this year, gaining a one-seat majority and promising to usher in a new series of policies, including some concerning animal protection.

The original declaration from the NDP to ban grizzly bear trophy hunting, but not meat hunting, won widespread praise, but it was viewed as having a questionable and unenforceable loophole. The government opened up a comment period, and the response was overwhelming: ban all grizzly bear hunting, because it’s essentially all for trophy hunting purposes even if someone chokes down some grizzly bear meat on pretense. Ecologist and scientist David Suzuki – along with a number of hunters on hunting forums – panned the idea that anyone hunts grizzly bears for meat, given the abundance of hooved animals in the wilds of British Columbia.

Under the prior Liberal government, B.C. had become the world’s grizzly-bear-hunting hub, with trophy hunters killing 250 of the great bears a year there, even within renowned provincial parks and protected areas and, most brazenly, in the Great Bear Rainforest, where Coastal First Nations have vehemently opposed trophy hunting of bears.

This is a signature win for animal protection groups (including Humane Society International/Canada, which worked for this outcome). Polling revealed that opponents of the practice include an overwhelming majority of residents of rural communities with strong hunting traditions. All of this is an emphatic reminder to the U.S. government and to our northern Rockies states not to proceed with a trophy hunt for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which may be enabled with the recent delisting of bears there from the ranks of threatened and endangered species.

It’s not just a moral issue, it’s also an economic one. Each year, thousands flock to B.C.’s lush forests to participate in grizzly-bear-viewing expeditions. The bear-viewing industry brings in 12 times more direct revenue to the province than trophy hunting. There are millions of people throughout North America and the world who’d pay handsomely for an opportunity to see grizzlies in the wild, while very few people wish to slay these bears as a head-hunting exercise. The economic potential of an industry built around bear watching is vast, while the killing industry is small and receding and also a threat to the larger wildlife-watching enterprise.

https://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/12/breaking-news-british-columbia-strengthens-ban-trophy-hunting-grizzly-bears.html

 

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Animal rights group hopes to appeal decision against judicial review of Wildlife Act

The fight is not over.

A year after the shooting of a baby bear, that’s what a group of animal advocates says after losing an attempt in court for a judicial review of the Wildlife Act.

The Fur-Bearers spokesperson, Lesley Fox, says the group is raising questions about Section 79, which states, “An officer may kill an animal, other than a domestic animal, that is at large and is likely to harm persons, property, wildlife or wildlife habitat.”

 Fox says while the group understands that a conservation officer has the authority to euthanize an animal if it poses a threat to public safety, they’re raising the question – what about when the animal is not posing a threat?

She explains, for example, an orphaned cub that was killed in Dawson Creek by a conservation officer last year because it was found to be malnourished, even while a rehabilitation centre was waiting to take it in.

“If lethal action isn’t necessary, and we argue specifically in this case with the little cub, there shouldn’t be lethal action and in fact, it should be the opposite. That every effort should be made to get these animals into care, to be evaluated by experts.”

READ MORE: Neighbourhood series: Being bear aware in the Tri Cities

“Certainly having an animal examined by an expert, or a veterinarian, who specializes in wildlife is a huge asset and let them determine whether or not it’s appropriate to rehab this animal. I think that decision needs to be taken out of the conservation officer service, and I think there needs to be sort of an independent third party expert or specialist.”

She says those wild animals should have every opportunity to be rehabbed and released back into the wild.

Fox says they’re investigating how to appeal the decision.

In a statement, the Ministry of Environment says that a conservation officer does not relish the thought of putting an animal down –  and that euthanization is a last resort.

It says conservation officers are guided by provincial wildlife policy, as well as their experience and expertise, to make decisions in the field every day; it adds the court decision affirms its understanding of the authorities granted to them under the Wildlife Act.

https://globalnews.ca/news/3920630/animal-rights-group-hopes-to-appeal-attempt-in-court-for-judicial-review-of-wildlife-act/

British Columbia’s hunting ban on grizzlies the latest in rapid-fire series of gains for animals

https://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/08/british-columbia-hunting-ban-grizzlies-latest-rapid-fire-series-gains-animals.html

by HSUS president Wayne Pacelle,

August 15, 2017

This week, British Columbia’s newly formed government, responding to the will of an overwhelming majority of the province’s citizens and following through on its own campaign promise, announced a ban on all trophy hunting of grizzly bears there, starting in November.

Under the prior Liberal government, B.C. had become the world’s grizzly-bear-hunting hub, with trophy hunters killing 250 of the great bears a year, even within renowned provincial parks and protected areas and, most brazenly, in the Great Bear Rainforest, where Coastal First Nations have vehemently opposed trophy hunting of bears.

This is a signature win for animal protection groups (including Humane Society International/Canada, which worked for this outcome), and for the more than 90 percent of B.C. residents who opposed trophy hunting. Polling revealed that opponents of the practice include an overwhelming majority of residents of rural communities with strong hunting traditions. All of this is an emphatic reminder to the U.S. government and to our northern Rockies states not to proceed with a trophy hunt for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which may be enabled with the recent delisting of bears there from the ranks of threatened and endangered species.

There is no justification for the cruelty of trophy hunting, and the utterly gratuitous nature of the killing. In 2015, the world watched in horror as a video showed a wounded grizzly bear thrashing in agony as she tumbles down a hill, her blood smearing the snow, while the men who shot her cheer the outcome. Other, similarly jarring videos, showing wounded bears suffering in agony while trophy hunters rejoice, live on YouTube for anyone to see.

It’s not just a moral issue, it’s also an economic one. Each year, thousands flock to B.C.’s lush forests to participate in grizzly-bear-viewing expeditions. The bear-viewing industry brings in 12 times more direct revenue to the province than trophy hunting. There are millions of people throughout North America and the world who’d pay handsomely for an opportunity to see a grizzly in the wild, while only a few thousand people wish to slay these bears as a head-hunting exercise. The economic potential of an industry built around bear watching is vast, while the killing industry is small and receding and also a threat to the larger wildlife-watching enterprise.

HSI/Canada has worked for more than a decade to bring down the trophy hunting industry in British Columbia and other provinces. More than 10,000 supporters of HSI/Canadasigned a letter to B.C. premier Christy Clark, asking her to ban the hunt, and HSI, with other partners, participated in the delivery of over 70,000 signatures to the B.C. legislature in April, calling for a ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting. While much remains to be clarified about the recent announcement, HSI is determined to work with the B.C. government to ensure that grizzlies are truly protected from all forms of trophy hunting.

This victory for grizzlies comes close on the heels of other notable wins wildlife in the past couple of weeks. Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that federal protections for wolves under the Endangered Species Act should be maintained for 4,000 or so wolves inhabiting the northern reaches of the boreal forests of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Also on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that Endangered Species Act protections clearly extend to grizzly bears kept in captivity, even though those facilities also must meet the minimum standards of humane treatment set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act, as advocated by HSUS attorneys in an amicus curiae brief. On Friday, Illinois became the first state in the United States to ban the use of elephants in circuses and other traveling acts, when Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a landmark bill prohibiting this practice. And on August 1, the Czech Republic became the latest country to ban fur farming, a policy that, when it takes effect, will spare 20,000 foxes and mink from being raised and killed for the fur trade.

These are all indicators that the world is waking up to the plight of animals. Our task is far from complete, but these wins should stir the hopes of all of us who imagine a day when we recognize the rightful place of other creatures on our planet and treat them with respect and dignity.

Letter: Time to put a stop to B.C.’s grizzly bear hunt

https://www.pqbnews.com/opinion/time-to-put-a-stop-to-b-c-s-grizzly-bear-hunt/

  • Aug. 11, 2017 10:30 a.m.

Grizzly bears are very important to me and, as the polls show, are very important to a large majority of British Columbians.

I believe NDP Premier John Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver made statements opposing the grizzly bear trophy hunt and in acknowledgement of the importance grizzly bear to the ecology and economy of British Columbia.

In 2001, the NDP government implemented a moratorium on grizzly bear hunting, but it was overturned after the B.C. Liberals took office.

In the 2017 provincial election, NDP and Green candidates pledged support to ban the B.C. grizzly bear trophy hunt.

I am part of the very large majority of British Columbians who applaud this position and who did not imagine that we would be waiting with bated breath to hear an announcement from the NDP government to immediately ban this hunt.

Grizzly bears continue to be hunted for no good reason, despite the fact that tourism revenue is far greater than that from grizzly bear trophy hunting.

I believe, as most British Columbians believe, protecting our wildlife is a smart investment in the future.

Ronda Murdock

Parksville

ACTION ALERT: GOVERNMENT ACCEPTING COMMENTS ON GRIZZLY HUNT POLICIES

http://thefurbearers.com/blog/action-alert-government-accepting-comments-grizzly-hunt-policies

10/04/2017 – 12:48

ACTION ALERT: Government accepting comments on grizzly hunt policies

The province is changing the way grizzly bears are hunted in British Columbia, and it’s your opportunity to let them know what you think about their policy papers, and what the future of grizzly killing will look like.

In August the government announced that all hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest would end (not including First Nations), as would taking traditional trophies from grizzlies hunted throughout the province (but still allowing a hunt for “meat”). This now means that policies surrounding the hunting of grizzly bears need to change, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations is asking for public input.

Specifically, they are seeking feedback on:

  • Changes to manage the ban in hunting areas that overlap the Great Bear Rainforest;
  • Changes that will prohibit the possession of “trophy” grizzly bear parts;
  • Changes that will manage prohibited grizzly bear parts;
  • Changes to prohibit the trafficking of grizzly bear parts; and,
  • New reporting requirements for taxidermists.

We encourage everyone to submit their comments via email to grizzly.bear@gov.bc.ca, and if they’re residents of British Columbia, to copy their MLA. Here are our tips for writing a letter:

  • Keep it short and specific. You want to make sure your points are straight-forward and easy to read so there’s no mistaking your opinions, and that it isn’t confused with other, unrelated comments.
  • Be polite and mindful of language. You may feel a great deal of anger, sadness, or even hate over what you need to write. But when communicating with politicians and government bureaucrats, using hateful language, veiled or indirect threats, or cursing, your points can be more easily ignored, and sometimes even result in resources being redirected as a security measure.
  • Provide citations and links. It’s a lot harder to dismiss an argument if there’s clear evidence through citations to reputable documents or media, and links to existing policy or examples. Providing these makes your letter more impactful.
  • Request follow up. If you want answers, make sure your questions are clear, and that you expect responses within a certain time period. Remember that in the case of policy input there may not be any systems in place for responses, and to follow up with bureaucrats or politicians.

Sample Letter

It is my opinion that managing the hunting of grizzly bears and the harvesting and trafficking of the various trophies, parts, or meat of their carcasses cannot be effectively accomplished within British Columbia at this time. Without significant increases to the resources of the Conservation Officer Service and their counterparts at the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, there is simply no manner of ensuring any policy allowing for some harvesting of grizzly bear trophies, parts or meat. Additionally, long-standing questions regarding the models and research used to make policy decisions on grizzly bear hunting have not been answered (see recommendations from the Scientific Review of Grizzly Bear Harvest and the yet-to-be delivered report from the Auditor General).

How this will interfere with the thriving grizzly bear viewing industry is also not included in your policy papers – a critical oversight.

In conjunction with these vital issues on the conservation and science side, the lack of resources to properly manage the hunt, and the overwhelming shift in societal views on hunting grizzly bears, all grizzly hunting should cease in the province.

Signed

Your name and address


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End of the trophy hunt: Proposed B.C. rules on killing grizzlies leave hunters and activists unhappy

End of the trophy hunt: Proposed B.C. rules on killing grizzlies leave hunters and activists unhappy

The province, citing poll results, says it’s taking action because the ‘vast majority’ of people in B.C. take the view that grizzly trophy hunting is not ‘socially acceptable’

Under revised B.C. regulations grizzly bears can still be hunted, but only in restricted circumstances for meat. No trophy parts — hide, skull or paws — can be kept by the hunter.Getty Images

The hunter wearing the camouflage ball cap could barely contain his excitement.

He had just fired his bolt-action rifle at a grizzly grazing in the wilds of northern British Columbia, sending the bear tumbling down a hill to within 10 yards of him.

“Holy, Toledo!” the hunter says in a dramatic 2014 YouTube video of the kill. He flashes a wide grin and fist bumps his son and hunting guide.

“This is a dream come true for me. I’ve been wanting a grizz for a long, long time.”

Such videos could soon become a rarity after B.C.’s NDP government announced plans this summer to ban grizzly bear “trophy hunting” — hunting for thrills and bragging rights — and to restrict the harvesting of grizzlies only for meat.

But the proposed regulation, set to take effect Nov. 30, is drawing rebuke from all sides of the emotionally charged debate — hunters who say they should be able to take home mementos of their kills, guide outfitters who say their livelihoods are at stake and activists who say killing grizzlies for food should also be banned.

“The whole thing hasn’t been thought out,” said Ian McAllister, executive director of Pacific Wild, a non-profit focused on conservation.

Currently, B.C. residents can apply for permits to hunt grizzlies in certain designated areas under a lottery system. Those living outside the province can hunt grizzlies only after they have hired a guide outfitter.

The province says its motivation for ending the trophy hunt is not because the grizzly population is in jeopardy. According to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, about 250 grizzles are taken by hunters each year out of a “stable and self-sustaining” population of roughly 15,000.

Instead, the province, citing poll results, says it’s taking action because the “vast majority” of people in B.C. take the view that grizzly trophy hunting is “not a socially acceptable practice.”

Under the new regulation, it will be illegal for a hunter to possess “trophy parts” of a grizzly, including the skull, hide and paws. The province has not decided if it will require hunters to leave those prohibited parts at the kill site or require hunters to take them in for government inspection.

But in an open letter signed earlier this month, Humane Society International/Canada, the BC SPCA and numerous other environmental and animal-welfare organizations expressed concern that the trophy hunt ban will be difficult to enforce and that trophy hunting will likely continue “under the guise” of meat hunting.

“People do not travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres, pay tens of thousands of dollars, and risk their lives shooting at grizzly bears to put meat on the table. … Even if the head, hide and claws are left on the ground, or given to a conservation officer, the hunter will take away trophy videos, photographs and bragging rights. The bears will still be killed for sport,” the letter states.

As they called for a complete ban of grizzly hunting, the groups also disputed the province’s claim that the grizzly population is sustainable, saying the species is threatened in some regions due to human conflicts, habitat destruction and hunting.

They would prefer if the province threw its support behind businesses that promote grizzly viewing instead of hunting.

Meanwhile, the province’s guide outfitters worry the new regulation could put a big dent in their business.

“This is not a science-based decision; this is purely an emotional decision,” said Mark Werner of the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C.

Werner pointed out that while current regulations require hunters to harvest edible portions of black bears, they permit hunters to take home other parts of the bear, such as the head and hide. Why allow it for black bears but not grizzlies? It would be such a waste to leave behind those parts of the grizzly, he said.

Werner and other pro-hunting advocates said logging and other big industries do far more harm to the grizzly population than selective hunting.

If the ban proceeds, expect the encroachment of grizzlies into urban centres and attacks on hikers and campers to rise, they added. Sometimes, you need that “human fear factor” to keep grizzlies at bay, Werner said.

Neither the father-son duo in the 2014 YouTube video nor the hunting outfitter they hired, Love Bros & Lee Ltd. of Hazelton, B.C., could be reached for comment. But other hunters say the braggadocio depicted in the video is not representative of their behaviour.

Carl Gitscheff of Dawson Creek, B.C., recalled a grizzly hunt that he did with his 34-year-old son, Krostin, this past spring in the northeast part of the province.

“At this stage in my life, to be honest with you, I don’t care if I kill anything. I just enjoy the hunt. My purpose was to go with him and accompany him on his bear,” Gitscheff said.

But when they spotted a grizzly in the distance on the second day of their trip, Gitscheff’s son let him take the shot.

“He actually proved himself as the man and extended his compassion, his love, by insisting that I take it. … It was the gentleman thing to do, which really for a father, touched my heart in a way that’s hard to describe.”

The end result was a “picture perfect” one-shot kill.

Gitscheff said he harvested the entire bear and is in the process of tanning the hide.

“Upon my expiry, perhaps one of my grandchildren may hang it in their home and say this belonged to Papa,” he said.

“You’ll never see a picture of my bear on social media. If you walked into my home, you’ll never see that bear. It’s not on display. I’m not beating my chest over this animal.”

Comment: Why not a complete ban on grizzly hunting?

JUDY MALONE / TIMES COLONIST

OCTOBER 15, 2017 12:58 AM

I recently had the pleasure of visiting grizzly-bear country, inside the traditional Bute Inlet territory of the Homalco Nation.

Deep in the dense forest, with impossibly massive bears fishing the shores of a salmon-packed river, it was a page out of National Geographic. We saw nine grizzlies, including a female with her spring cubs, and a newly independent juvenile gamely trying to catch his lunch.

I come to see family and friends in your province often. I also come, as do so many from around the world, to see iconic wildlife in their natural settings.

Many of us deeply concerned for threatened wildlife were impressed when the people of B.C. made trophy hunting of grizzlies an election issue. When the new NDP government promised to end it, we looked forward to seeing that promise delivered quickly. The ban would be precedent-setting, with far-reaching implications. In a post-Cecil-the-lion world, people everywhere are agreeing that we will no longer tolerate the relentless killing of animals for what some people call sport.

Instead, the promised B.C. ban was both inexplicably delayed until after a full fall hunt season, then when delivered was incomplete. It was and is critically compromised by allowing the killing of grizzlies for meat. Safari Club International has actively interfered in this matter since the campaign for the ban began, even calling on rank-and-file members to crash and load media opinion polls and comments. But the reality is that while U.S. trophy hunters and local outfitters are angered by this ban, it is all too clear they see it as interference, and not as an end to the killing.

Your government has both dismissed science and insulted public intelligence by stating the hunt is sustainable and the ban was only in response to a shift in public attitudes. In a classic example of ethical doubling, Premier John Horgan once agreed grizzlies are struggling to survive habitat disruption and loss, and need our full protection.

Once elected, he then promptly announced a trophy hunt ban with a meat-hunt loophole big enough to drag a grizzly through. But the fact is that few Canadians hunt grizzly at all, and fewer still — if any — hunt grizzly for meat. Now, of course, many seem to have developed an appetite, or so they claim.

A public consultation period was announced, through Nov. 2. But the consultation is about how to manage the meat hunt, not if there should be a meat hunt. Now our media are headlining the results of a second poll. It shows what people asked for before the election and what they still want, is a complete ban. No hunting for trophy, for meat, no killing of any grizzly for any reason.

It shows something else. The public has been consulted and the answer is loud and clear. British Columbians and all Canadians are the key stakeholders on this issue. The people who elected your government want a complete ban. Polls have found that 91 per cent of British Columbians and 84 per cent of Albertans, including those living in rural areas, oppose trophy hunting.

There is no question these numbers would play out across Canada and elsewhere. It would certainly be tough to come up with another issue on which 80 to 90 per cent of people polled would agree.

A new report has told us that more than half of Canada’s wildlife species are dying off at an alarming rate. Trophy hunting is unethical, insupportable and an easily eliminated threat. Canadians and tourists stand with the citizens of B.C. We demand and expect the NDP government to oppose the killing of any grizzly for any reason.

 

Judy Malone of Toronto is a frequent flyer to British Columbia, and founder of Tourists Against Trophy Hunting, an international coalition of conservationists, ecologists, travellers, travel agents, writers and bloggers.

Opinion: Only ban on all grizzly hunting will ensure the slaughter ends

Opinion: Only ban on all grizzly hunting will ensure the slaughter ends

Grizzly bear No. 122 feeds on a moose carcass in 2013.

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Last month, a hunter shot and killed a female grizzly bear after she wandered from Alberta into neighbouring B.C., where grizzly trophy hunting is still legal. Bear 148 was moved in July from the Bow Valley just outside Banff National Park to Kakwa Wildland Park, closer to the B.C.-Alberta border. According to the B.C. Conservation Service, the hunter who shot Bear 148 was well aware that the bear was wearing a research tracking collar but killed it anyway, which isn’t illegal.

Bear 148 wasn’t the first grizzly from a neighbouring jurisdiction to be killed by hunters after entering B.C. In 2014, a hunter near Golden legally killed Bear 125, which was part of a monitoring program in Banff National Park, after it travelled from the Upper Bow Valley in Alberta across the continental divide to B.C.’s Upper Blaeberry Valley. As with Bear 148, killing Bear 125 in B.C. was legal, even though both bears came from a highly threatened population in and around Banff National Park. Alberta banned grizzly-bear hunting in 2006, but in B.C., resident and foreign hunters legally kill about 300 grizzlies every year.

That hunters in B.C. can kill bears from Alberta, or other neighbouring jurisdictions like Montana, after they step to the other side of the border reveals how ineffectual our wildlife policies are for species that roam across vast areas of territory. Grizzlies don’t recognize political borders. They have huge ranges that extend well outside parks and protected areas. This puts them at great risk of encountering not just hunters but other threats, such as confrontations with people at townsites or workers’ camps in remote areas.

Polls show that most B.C. residents oppose trophy hunting of grizzlies. And many First Nations have banned the practice in their territories. The trophy hunt was even a major issue in the recent B.C. election. Now in government, the NDP has announced a plan to end all grizzly hunting in B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest, but to allow a regulated “food hunt” of grizzly bears in place of the trophy hunt elsewhere.

A food hunt wouldn’t prevent the killing of “protected” transboundary grizzlies. Although no one legitimately hunts grizzlies for meat, such a policy has a built-in loophole that would allow recreational hunters to kill grizzlies as long as they surrender the animal’s head, pelt, claws, teeth and other “trophy” items to a government official and/or remove the meat from the carcass and pack it out. These proposed changes to hunting regulations are semantics. Grizzly bears will continue to suffer pain and deaths at the hands of hunters, regardless of whether hunters hand the head, pelt, paws, teeth and claws to a government bureaucrat after killing the animal, or keep them to be stuffed and mounted on a wall or made into a rug. We remain concerned that recreational hunters could continue to kill grizzlies under the guise of food hunting.

Grizzlies have already lost over half of their historical range in North America because of habitat loss and earlier periods of over-hunting. South of the border, the Trump administration has removed protection under the Endangered Species Act for a threatened grizzly population in the Greater Yellowstone Region, and several U.S. states have begun the process to allow grizzly-bear hunting again.

We commend the B.C. government’s commitment to stop grizzly hunting throughout the Great Bear Rainforest, as it will finally ensure that the iconic namesake of this vast coastal region will be fully protected. And while we appreciate the B.C. government’s desire to end grizzly-bear trophy hunting throughout the province, the proposed food-hunt policy fails to address significant conservation and ethical problems with the grizzly hunt. Only a ban on all grizzly hunting will ensure that the slaughter ends.

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Faisal Moola is the foundation’s director general for Ontario and northern Canada. Chris Genovali is executive director of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Poll suggests majority of British Columbians support complete ban on grizzly bear hunt

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
– A A +

A new poll suggests three-quarters of British Columbians think grizzly bears should not be hunted in this province at all.

The online survey, conducted by Insights West, found 74 per cent of the over 800 participants said they would support a ban on hunting grizzly bears, while 19 per cent are opposed.

Over 800 people responded to the study across the province, including several self-described hunters, 58 per cent of whom said they would support a ban.

The survey was held for three days at the end of August, two weeks after the B.C. government banned trophy hunting of grizzly bears. A residential hunt is still allowed under the new ruling.

READ MORE: Roughly 75% of rural British Columbian voters oppose grizzly bear trophy hunt: poll

The study found 78 per cent of women across B.C. support a complete ban on the hunting of grizzly bears. The area of the province with the most support for a ban was Vancouver Island, with 81 per cent of residents there voting against the hunt.

Eighty-one per cent of people who voted for both the NDP or the Green Party in the B.C. provincial election in May are in support of the ban, while residents aged 35 to 54 make up the age group that supports a ban the most, with 79 per cent.

READ MORE: B.C. NDP plan to ban grizzly bear trophy hunt

“With so many residents who believe grizzlies should not be hunted at all, there is definitely appetite for more action” beyond the government’s trophy hunting ban, Mario Canseco of Insights West said.

Province to consult on grizzly regulations

The poll comes as the province announces a round of public consultation on its new grizzly hunting regulations, to take effect Nov. 30.

Earlier this summer, the new NDP government announced plans to ban trophy hunting, which would close all grizzly hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest, and would block hunters from possessing the paws, head or hide of a grizzly.

Hunting for meat is still permitted.

In a media release, the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resources said it now wants input on five areas related to the new rules:

  • Changes to manage the ban in hunting areas that overlap the Great Bear Rainforest;
  • Changes that will prohibit the possession of “trophy” grizzly bear parts;
  • Changes that will manage prohibited grizzly bear parts;
  • Changes to prohibit the trafficking of grizzly bear parts, and
  • New reporting requirements for taxidermists.

British Columbians looking to weigh in can find out more here, and make comment until Nov. 2.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

38 SIGNATORS SAY GRIZZLY ‘MEAT’ HUNT IS A TROPHY HUNT IN DISGUISE

New Denver, BC – Thirty-eight environmental and animal welfare organizations, along with wildlife-based businesses and prominent activists, have signed an Open Letter to the BC Government…

opposing the continuation of grizzly bear hunting for meat. “The BC government is planning to end trophy hunting of grizzly bears, but will allow them to be hunted for meat across most of the province, except for part of the Great Bear Rainforest,” says Ian McAllister of Pacific Wild.  “We are asking for a complete ban on hunting grizzly bears all over BC.”

The Open Letter says there has never been significant hunting of grizzly bears for meat in BC. “Previously grizzly bears were classified by BC Fish & Wildlife with non-game animals such as wolverines, wolves and cougars,” says Alan Burger of BC Nature. “Hunters were specifically allowed under law to leave the meat on the ground and take only the trophy parts. Many British Columbians are appalled that the government has now invented a grizzly bear meat hunt.”

“People don’t travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres, pay tens of thousands of dollars, and risk their lives shooting at grizzly bears to put meat on the table,” the Open Letter states.  “They largely do it only for trophies and sport.  Even if they have to leave the head, hide and claws behind, they take away trophy videos, photographs and bragging rights. The bears will still be killed for sport”.

The Open Letter disputes the BC government’s claim that hunting grizzly bears is sustainable. “Grizzly bears are a species at risk,” says Wayne McCrory, a bear biologist and Valhalla Wilderness Society director. “For years independent scientists have warned the government that BC may have far fewer grizzly bears than we think”.

“We have thriving grizzly bear viewing and photography businesses in the Interior, just like on the coast,” says famed Kootenay wildlife photographer, Jim Lawrence. “People are thrilled to see these magnificent animals alive and in photographs.

“Stop the Grizzly Killing Society receives comments from many hundreds of people,” says Trish Boyum, who has campaigned tirelessly to protect grizzlies. “It is clear that British Columbians want a total ban on killing grizzly bears across BC, except where they would be hunted by some First Nations People for sustenance and ceremonial purposes.”

“Collectively, our organizations, which represent the majority of British Columbians, urge the BC government not to authorize any further grizzly bear hunting until it has done a full review of public input and the soon-to-be released Auditor General’s report. This is a very critical conservation issue in our province and we have an opportunity to do it right.,” says Dr. Sara Dubois, Chief Scientific Officer of the BC SPCA.

The open letter can be downloaded at: http://bearmatters.com/lettertocgovtopposinghuntinggrizzlybearsformeat/

38 Signators:
• Animal Advocates of BC
• Animal Alliance of Canada
• Animal Justice
• Animal Protection Party
• Applied Conservation GIS
• BC Nature
• BC SPCA
• Bears Matter
• Canadians for Bears
• Clayoquot Action
• Craighead Institute
• David Suzuki Foundation
• DeerSafe Victoria
• First Nations Environmental Network
• Friends of the Lardeau River
• Friends of Nemaiah Valley
• George Rammell Grizzly bear activist
• Great Bear Chalet
• Humane Society International/Canada
• Justice for B.C. Grizzlies
• Kootenay Reflections Photography
• Kwiakah First Nation
• West Coast Wild Art Co.
• Lifeforce Foundation
• Ocean Adventures Charter Co.
• Ocean Light II Adventures
• Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours
• Pacific Wild
• Purcell Alliance for Wilderness
• Save the Cedar League
• Steve Williamson Photography
• Stop the Grizzly Killing Society
• The Furbearers
• Tourists Against Trophy Hunting
• Valhalla Wilderness Society
• Wildlife Defence League
• Wolf Awareness Incorporated
• Zoocheck Canada

OPEN LETTER TO THE BC GOVERNMENT OPPOSING
THE CONTINUATION OF HUNTING GRIZZLY BEARS FOR MEAT

We, the undersigned environmental and animal welfare organzations, and wildlife-based businesses, are pleased that the current BC government is committed to end the trophy hunt of grizzly bears. However we strongly oppose the government’s plans to allow continued grizzly bear hunting, under the pretext of hunting for meat, except for a jointly-regulated First Nations ceremonial/sustenance hunt. Part of the Great Bear Rainforest would have a total ban on hunting, but that’s only a very small part of grizzly bear habitat in BC. We oppose the meat hunt for the following reasons:

1. Grizzly bears are a species at risk. They are blue-listed in BC, and threatened by poaching, human conflicts, habitat destruction and hunting. They have disappeared from 18% of their range in BC. (1) Out of 56 grizzly bear subpopulations in BC, 9 are classified as “threatened” by British Columbia.

2. We expect to see much trophy hunting continued under the guise of “meat” hunting. In the past, virtually all grizzly bear hunting has been trophy hunting, except for First Nations ceremonial / sustenance hunting (which we do not oppose). Many hunters find the meat unpalatable. Grizzly bears were previously included by BC Fish & Wildlife with non-game animals such as wolverines, wolves and cougars. In the past, BC hunting regulations have had a provision allowing hunters to leave the meat on the ground and take only the trophy parts. People do not travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres, pay tens of thousands of dollars, and risk their lives shooting at grizzly bears to put meat on the table. The proposed new regulations for meat hunting will simply disguise trophy hunting as meat hunting. Even if the head, hide and claws are left on the ground, or given to a conservation officer, the hunter will take away trophy videos, photographs and bragging rights. The bears will still be killed for sport.

The BC government is considering various options to distinguish trophy hunting from meat hunting, but they only increase our conviction that this division is unenforceable. For many years BC has been unable to control substantial poaching of bears, how will it account for every trophy part of every bear shot by hunters?

3. The government has claimed the grizzly hunt is sustainable. However, independent biologists have been saying for years that this is not true. We do not even know with certainty how many grizzly bears there are in BC, or how many can be killed without reducing the population. Peer-reviewed studies by scientists have found numerous cases of too many bears being killed (by all causes), even according to the government’s own population numbers. Studies have proven that hunters often kill too many female bears. The European Union investigated BC’s grizzly bear hunt, ruled it environmentally unsustainable, and banned the import of trophies.

4. Closing the meat hunt in a limited area will concentrate hunting in other areas. While the government proposes to stop all grizzly bear hunting in a 230,000-hectare area of the Great Bear Rainforest, this is only a small part of grizzly bear habitat across BC. Grizzly bear hunting in this area will simply move to other coastal and interior areas of the province.

In addition, the undersigned object to the following aspects of the public consultation process for the new grizzly bear hunting regulations.

1. The process only considers how to manage the meat hunt, not whether there should even be a meat hunt. Participants are forced to accept the meat hunt as fait accompli.

2. Poor public access to information. Only those who sign confidentiality agreements can have access to some important information. Only those willing to sign the confidentiality agreements can be “stakeholders”, which receive priority consultation. The government has not released a complete list of stakeholders. The process was not advertised until recently, when it had already been running about a month, unbeknownst to many undersigned organizations. The confidentiality agreements represent muzzling of public organizations and suppressing information.

In June of this year, 23 organizations concerned with the welfare of wildlife sent a letter to the BC government that stated: “The wildlife of the province belongs to all British Columbians, and has by law been held by the government in trust.” The letter came about because the provincial government had been giving hunting organizations and related businesses priority access to consultation on matters related to wildlife, resulting in glaring policy bias.

Today the undersigned organizations and businesses are seeking increased recognition by the government that BC wildlife belongs to all Canadians, who have an equal stake in how it is managed, and an equal right to relevant information. We expect proportionate representation in all provincial wildlife matters. BC has over 1,500 species at risk. Recognizing the worldwide biodiversity crisis, the management of our wildlife must shift away from maximizing how many animals hunters can kill, to the practice of conservation biology to ensure the survival of species at risk.

We hold that the upcoming Auditor General’s report on the grizzly bear hunt — which was due to be released in September — is critical information for all parties to have before making decisions on this issue. Rushing to change the hunting regulations before the report is released wastes the tax dollars that have been spent to better inform decision-making. We urge the BC government not to authorize any further grizzly bear hunting until it has done a full review of public input and the soon-to-be released Auditor General’s report.

Sincerely,

References
1. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Grizzly Bear of Canada, https://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=A32186C4-1&offset=9

2. Artelle, K. A., Anderson, S. C., Cooper, A. B., Paquet, P. C., Reynolds, J. D., Darimont, C. T., “Confronting Uncertainty in Wildlife Management: Performance of Grizzly Bear Management,” PLOS ONE, Nov. 2013, Vol. 8, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0078041&type=printable=