Video of hunter killing Alberta bear with spear draws death threats

Video of hunter killing Alberta bear with spear draws death threats; provincial ban coming

Alberta to Ban Spear Hunting After Bear Video Sparks Outrage

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/alberta-ban-spear-hunting-bear-video-sparks-outrage-41424241

The Alberta provincial government plans to ban the practice of spearing wildlife after a video posted online showing an American killing a black bear with a spear sparked outrage.

The video was posted in June on the YouTube account of Josh Bowmar, who runs an Ohio-based fitness company, and shows him killing the bear on a hunt in northern Alberta. By the time it was removed from public view on Monday it had garnered more than 208,000 views.

The 13-minute video shows Bowmar launching a massive spear — with a camera attached — at a bear from 11 to 14 meters (36 to 46 feet) away and captures his jubilant reaction when the animal is hit.

“I just speared a bear!” Bowmar says on the video. “He’s going down. I drilled him perfect … I smoked him.”

He later says he got “mad penetration. That’s a dead bear.”

Commenters on YouTube were livid. At least one comment threatened to do to the hunter what he did to the bear. Twitter users called the bear’s killing sick, inhumane, shameful and disgusting.

Alberta’s Environment and Parks department issued a statement, calling the spear hunting an “archaic” practice. Spear hunting is already illegal in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province.

“Work is well underway to update Alberta’s hunting regulations. We will introduce a ban on spear hunting this fall as part of those updated regulations,” a spokesman said in an emailed statement. “‘In the meantime, we have asked Fish and Wildlife officers to investigate this incident to determine if charges are warranted under existing laws.”

Wayne Pacelle, CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, welcomed Alberta’s plans to strengthen the law to ban spear hunting.

“Our attitudes toward animals evolve for the better, and there is more antipathy for acts of cruelty like the one from Alberta,” said Pacelle. “At one time, cockfighting and dogfighting were legal. Then we got our act together as a society and forbade these practices as depraved, archaic and inhumane.”

more: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/alberta-ban-spear-hunting-bear-video-sparks-outrage-41424241

DSC_0081

Spare, Don’t Spear, That Bear

http://www.bornfreeusa.org/weblog_canada.php?p=5677&more=1

 08/18/16

Black Bear© Amit Patel

The video of Ohio javelin champion Josh Bowmar throwing a heavy spear into a black bear in Alberta, Canada predictably went viral. The bear had been attracted to food that had been provided. While the animal nervously backed off a few times (as bears tend to avoid humans: the most deadly species on the planet), he finally trusted the humans nearby.

Big mistake. Bowmar threw the spear, which had a GoPro camera attached to it, assuring a “spear’s eye” view to augment the video taken by his friend.”He’s going down,” exalts Bowmar, breaking into a happy dance. “I drilled him perfect. That was the longest throw I thought I could ever make. I just did something I don’t think anybody in the entire world has ever done and that was spear a bear on the ground on film. And, I smoked him.”

Bowmar joyously finds the spear, which fell out of the fleeing bear. “Oh yeah, I got mad penetration,” he says. “These things are absolute lethal killing machines.”

Now, Bowmar joins a list of infamous hunters, including Walter Palmer, the dentist who killed Cecil the lion; Rebecca Francis, who proudly posed with the corpse of a giraffe she had just killed; Donald Trump’s sons, who posed with the bodies of various animal victims; and so many others whose capers, viewed via the internet, triggered widespread vitriol.

Bowmar seems to believe, against all evidence, that what he did was “humane.” He displays a total lack of empathy with his victim. The bear reportedly ran some 60 yards, with the spear and some internal organs falling out along the way, before collapsing. His body wasn’t found until the following morning.

This callous behavior comes at a cost to the rest of us—including innocent animals who, like you and me, just want to live out their lives.

The best we can do is hope for laws to protect us. Alberta now plans to ban bear spearing, but similarly cruel hunting practices are still legal… and they still appeal to a small percentage in our midst.

After the spear hunt: We must fight to protect Canada’s iconic bears

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/after-the-spear-outrage-we-must-fight-to-protect-canadas-iconic-bears/article31447415/?utm_source=Shared+Article+Sent+to+User&utm_medium=E-mail:+Newsletters+/+E-Blasts+/+etc.&utm_campaign=Shared+Web+Article+Links
by JULIUS STRAUSS
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016 3:34PM EDT
Strauss is a B.C.-based bear viewing guide and member of the Commercial Bear Viewing Association

The killing of a black bear by a U.S. hunter with a spear this week in Alberta has caused public outrage.

What has shocked is not so much the cruelty involved – the bear survived its initial injuries and ran off into the forest only to die later – but that the bear had been baited, and the act was legal.
The hunter, Josh Bowmar from Ohio, went on to celebrate the feat by posting a video of the killing on YouTube replete with footage from a GoPro he had attached to the spear.

Another hunter said Mr. Bowmar had “cojones” for being willing to approach the bear on foot, as it rummaged around a baited barrel that had been put out specifically for the purpose.

For a small minority, such a feat is something to crow about on social media.

Whether it is the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in British Columbia or the spear-hunting of a baited black bear in Alberta, there are sites on the internet that pore over the details of the kill, boasting of the endeavour.

Increasingly, however, there is a chasm between this small minority and the rest of Canadians who see such practices as outdated and morally repugnant.

Alberta banned the grizzly hunt more than a decade ago after the number of bears in the province fell to dangerously low numbers. But it still sanctions hunting black bears with bait.

In neighbouring British Columbia, trophy hunters still shoot between 250 and 300 grizzly bears a year. In B.C. the arguments against grizzly hunting have become increasingly persuasive in recent years.

Bear-viewing, a growing industry in which tourists pay to visit specialized lodges where they can safely watch wild bears, is now worth more than ten times to the province what grizzly hunting is.

A recent poll found overwhelming opposition: around 90 per cent of British Columbians have said they want to see grizzly hunting banned.

The government has so far stuck to its guns, so to speak. It maintains that the hunt is scientifically sustainable.

But even that argument took a blow recently when official figures showed that a hunted population in the Southern Rockies had dropped by 40 per cent in less than decade under government management.

As provincial elections near in British Columbia – they are due next spring – both the NDP and the Liberals have been jockeying for position with the electorate.

The arguments over whether grizzly hunting in B.C. should be allowed to continue, and whether black bears in Alberta should be baited and killed with spears, are raging in small circles.

Environmentalists are understandably furious with present policies and some warn that without change certain bears populations will disappear forever.

Trophy hunters fear that any erosion of their rights to shoot bears will lead to a wholesale onslaught by the government on their rural lifestyles.

Wildlife managers, meanwhile, spend days in endless meetings debating minute changes to hunting zones, seasons and what they term allowable harvest.

Meanwhile, out in the real world, attitudes have changed.

Many Canadians were incensed last year when a U.S. dentist shot Cecil, a prized African lion, who was lured out of a protected area and killed for its pelt.

They are ready to accept culling in areas where animals overpopulate, but bears never do that because their biology means that they have fewer cubs in times of poor food availability. Most would certainly condone killing an animal in self-defense.

Alberta has now promised to ban spear hunting – but that’s not enough. The concept of killing a bear – an animal that is so iconic – just so its skin can adorn a sofa is something the majority now finds unacceptable.

It’s time that Canada did better by its bears.

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Animal rights activists upset over man killing bear with a spear

http://www.guns.com/2016/08/16/animal-rights-activists-upset-over-man-killing-bear-with-a-spear-video/

(VIDEO)

 

An American who carried out a hunt in Canada is facing the wrath of animal rights activists after he posted a video capturing the kill on YouTube.

Josh Bowmar, who lives in Ohio, used a spear to slay a black bear, which is legal in Canada. Bowmar was immediately met with criticism after posting the video, but he was also quick to fire right back.

Masha Kalinina, of Humane Society International, said the animal was “heartlessly slaughtered for fun.”

“No-one could argue there is any skill involved here, no exhibition of hunting prowess, and certainly this has nothing to do with conservation as trophy hunters often argue,” Kalinina added. “This is pure selfish blood lust, a desire for a thrill and a trophy at the expense of an innocent life.”

Bowmar, however, ensured that the bear, which he described as “extremely nutritious,” was not wasted in any way. Likewise, Bowmar said those scoffing at his hunt should be ashamed of themselves for “for trying to kill a heritage that has existed for over a million years.”

Not only that, Bowmar detailed the skill involved in such a hunt, despite Kalinina’s claim that there was none involved.

[ The Mirror ]

Grizzly Group Takes Aim at Trophy Hunting, Sets Sights on 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.

In the leadup to next spring’s provincial election, the group is aiming for hearts and minds by asking B.C. voters and political candidates to consider the hunt from a moral and ethical stance.

We are the moral high ground. We are not the scientists,” said Barb Murray, who has fought against the hunt for more than a decade.

We can speak with our hearts…We all have a heart and a brain and we know wrong from right. Tweet: ‘We just have to stand up & be counted and make our politicians be accountable to the majority’ http://bit.ly/2bkTYEX #bcpoli #trophyhuntWe just have to stand up and be counted and make our politicians be accountable to the majority on this ethical issue.”

The hunt is outdated and archaic, pointed out supporter Val Murray.

It’s 2016, and stopping the hunt is morally and ethically right,” she said.

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Justice for B.C Grizzlies will officially launch in September and members will then start the hard work of pinning down politicians and candidates and bending the ears of friends and neighbours.

Supporters will be asked to sign a pledge to actively lobby to end the hunt, and ask candidates in their riding where they stand.

The group will work alongside others fighting the same battle, such as Raincoast Conservation, the David Suzuki Foundation and Pacific Wild, but will take a different approach in hopes of attracting those who have not thought about the morality of killing an apex predator — listed as a species of special concern by the federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada — in order to put a head on a wall or rug on the floor.

In 2001, in the dying days of the NDP government, a moratorium was imposed on trophy hunting until more scientific data could be compiled, but, as soon as Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberals were elected, the moratorium was rescinded.

That decision has stuck, despite the growing distaste of British Columbians and a 2004 European Union ban on imports of all B.C. grizzly parts after an analysis found the hunt was unsustainable.

Polls show the number of people who oppose the hunt is steadily growing, with an October 2015 Insights West poll finding that 91 per cent of British Columbians and 84 per cent of Albertans say they oppose hunting animals for sport. The margin of error for B.C. is plus or minus 3.1 per cent.

Along the way, hunt opponents have gathered some high profile support, including Martyn Brown, former chief of staff to Gordon Campbell and former deputy minister of tourism, trade and investment.

Brown agrees that putting pressure on politicians and political candidates is the way to “make the B.C. government bow to the wishes of the 91 per cent of British Columbians who say they don’t support it.”

Grizzly Group Takes Aim at Trophy Hunting, Sets Sights on Provincial Election Candidates http://www.desmog.ca/2016/08/15/grizzly-group-takes-aim-trophy-hunting-sets-sights-provincial-election-candidates  @christyclarkbc

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

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

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

desmog.ca

  • Smog Canada, Brown wrote “In our hearts, most of us know that the grisly business of trophy hunting is not right. Rather, it demeans us as the planet’s apex species.”

So, why does the Christy Clark Liberal government insist on continuing the hunt?

The two main arguments are that the grizzly population is healthy, with an estimated 15,000 bears, and the hunt puts money into the economy.

But government estimates of population numbers are based on models and expert opinions, not a count of bears, and many researchers believe numbers are much lower — possibly in the 6,000 range — and kills much higher than the approximately 300 grizzlies killed by hunters each year that the province reports.

A study by Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria and the Hakai Institute, which analyzed 35 years of grizzly mortality data, found kill limits are regularly exceeded.

At least nine sub-populations of grizzlies in B.C are on the verge of disappearing and, in addition to the hunt, grizzlies face disappearing habitat, poachers, and vehicle collisions.

The current hunt subjects grizzly populations to considerable risk. Substantial overkills have occurred repeatedly and might be worse than thought because of the many unknowns in management,” Raincoast biologist Kyle Artelle said after the study was published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.

Following the Raincoast study the David Suzuki Foundation and the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre requested an investigation by Auditor General Carol Bellringer, who agreed to look at whether the province is effectively managing the grizzly bear population.

Bellringer is expected to issue a report in the spring and hunt opponents are crossing their fingers it will be released before the election.

They are also hoping that the departure of Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett, who has said he will not run in the election, will help their cause.

Bennett, a key member of Clark’s cabinet, has been a strong supporter of the hunt.

On the financial front, a study by the Center for Responsible Travel, in conjunction with Stanford University, found that, in 2012, bear-viewing groups in the Great Bear Rainforest generated “more than 12 times more in visitor spending than bear hunting.”

Bear-watching also directed $7.3-million to government coffers compared to $660,500 from hunters and created 510 jobs a year compared to 11 jobs created by guide outfitters.

The overwhelming conclusion is that bear viewing in the Great Bear Rainforest generates far more value to the economy, both in terms of total visitor expenditures and gross domestic product and provides greater employment opportunities and returns to government than does bear hunting,” says the study.

However the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. is a powerful lobby and a generous contributor to the Liberal Party.

Between 2011 and May 2015 the association contributed almost $37,000 to the Liberal Party and a little over $6,000 to theNDP.

Jefferson Bray, owner of the Great Bear Chalet, in the Bella Coola Valley, in a letter to Bellringer, wrote “This global obscenity continues because it is lobbied, bought and paid for.”

Although the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. is the voice of those arguing to keep the grizzly hunt, the bulk of softer support comes from hunters who belong to the B.C. Wildlife Federation, who are afraid the end of the grizzly hunt would be the thin end of the wedge, said Barb Murray.

But Justice for B.C Grizzlies has no problem with those who hunt for food and the group has hunters among its’ supporters, she emphasized.

I am a hunter and I have never shot a bear,” said David Lawrie, a former forests engineer with the B.C. government and an inaugural member of Justice for B.C. Grizzlies.

And, when it comes to the government being capable of providing us with the number of bears, I don’t believe it. They can’t even provide us with the number of trees in the annual allowable cut and trees don’t walk,” Lawrie said.

This summer, the Wildlife Federation supported a call by Green Party leader Andrew Weaver to require trophy hunters to pack out edible meat from grizzly bears, but the support was immediately dismissed by hunt opponents.

If Weaver’s bill is somehow approved, most of the muscles of the bears will be transported out of the bush and dumped into landfills in B.C. and beyond, while their heads and hides will continue to be transformed into rugs for living rooms and prizes for trophy rooms, “ Raincoast executive director Chris Genovali and Raincoast guide outfitter coordinator Brian Falconer wrote in an op-ed in the Times Colonist.

Weaver’s bill died when the session ended and a Green Party spokesman said Thursday that, ideally, Weaver wants to see a complete ban on grizzly trophy hunting in B.C.

As the government made it clear that is not on the cards, Andrew tabled the bill as an interim measure with the goal of making trophy hunting more costly and regulated, especially for out-of-province hunters,” Mat Wright said in an email.

The major hope for reversing the legislation lies with the NDP and, so far, the party has not decided where it is going with the contentious issue.

Environment critic George Heyman said in an interview that discussions have taken place in caucus and will continue once summer vacation is over.

We will be letting people know our decision before the election,” said Heyman.

We understand that over 90 per cent of British Columbians oppose it and we are taking it very seriously,” he said.

It is obvious many British Columbians do not trust the government’s numbers and conservation is the first principle for theNDP, Heyman said.

We understand the importance of conserving this iconic species and we will make a responsible decision,” he said.

Which is exactly what Justice for B.C. Grizzlies wants to see.

Image: Princess Lodges via Flickr

B.C. Black Bear

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/coquitlam-fines-bear-attract
ants-1.3719678> Be bear aware: Pick ripe fruits from trees or pay a fine,
says City of Coquitlam to property owners

A 10-year-old girl is in hospital with critical injuries after a bear attack
in Port Coquitlam, B.C., Saturday.

Conservation Office inspector Murray Smith said the girl was attacked by a
female black bear with her cub.

The incident took place near Shaughnessy Street and Lincoln Avenue at about
5 p.m. PT., according to B.C. Ambulance, not far from a popular trail along
the Coquitlam River that leads to a nearby watershed and wilderness area.

Smith said conservation officers killed the sow when they found her.

“The bear wouldn’t leave the location with a lot of human presence at that
spot, and so the bear was destroyed,” he said.

The cub is still at large, he said, and people are being asked to stay away
from the area for the time being.

Smith said the officers are looking into the bear and cub’s conflict history
to see if they had exhibited a loss of fear of humans. Depending on what
they discover, the cub may also be killed.

He said it wasn’t yet clear what had provoked the attack.

“These situations are very challenging for everyone involved,” he said. “We
want to make sure that we keep bears wild and we don’t let them get too
comfortable in our communities.”

He reminded residents in the area to remove attractants like garbage and
fruit from trees.

.
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/coquitlam-fines-bear-attract
ants-1.3719678> Coquitlam ‘bears’ down on residents who leave out wildlife
attractants

blackbearcubs

British Columbia Humpbacks May Soon Lose Ocean Quiet

Off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, humpbacks are making a comeback. A proposed supertanker highway, however, could change that. ©From the video “Whale Haven” by Pacific Wild

Off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, humpbacks are making a comeback. A proposed supertanker highway, however, could change that. ©From the video “Whale Haven” by Pacific Wild

by Candice Gaukel Andrews August 4, 2016

Video: British Columbia Humpbacks May Soon Lose Ocean Quiet

In some of the last quiet, pristine waters on the British Columbia Coast, humpback whales are making a comeback. In the mid 1960s, when Canada stopped whaling on its West Coast, there were only about 1,500 of them left in the North Pacific. Ten years ago, a study estimated that their numbers had multiplied to about 22,000.

Today, however, these whales are facing another huge menace: a proposed supertanker highway through one of their few remaining peaceful havens. A massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project that’s being planned for the northern part of the province and possible bitumen oil pipelines from the Alberta tar sands to the B.C. Coast would route a potential 2,000 to 3,000 tankers through the Great Bear Sea per year, putting whales in daily risk of ship strikes.

A quiet ocean is essential for humpbacks; they largely use sound instead of sight to navigate, avoid predators, forage for food and find mates. ©From the video “Whale Haven” by Pacific Wild

A quiet ocean is essential for humpbacks; they largely use sound instead of sight to navigate, avoid predators, forage for food and find mates. ©From the video “Whale Haven” by Pacific Wild

That’s not the only danger the tankers would pose. If the pipelines are approved, each ship would carry over two million barrels of oil—the equivalent of 127, Olympic-size swimming pools. These colossal quantities of oil traveling along one of the world’s most dangerous shipping routes means that there’s a high risk of spillage. Smaller leaks and spills and the introduction of invasive, exotic species are additional threats these huge boats would bring to the waters of the Great Bear Sea. And, supertankers are the loudest marine vessels on Earth. Here, where current low noise levels allow the whales to communicate and forage successfully, the thunder of these carriers could displace the whales again.

Video: British Columbia Humpbacks May Soon Lose Ocean Quiet

Bear won’t be put down in Alberta grizzly attack

431125_10150547334526188_1114807436_n

The bear was acting in a natural, defensive manner, park officials say

By David Bell, CBC News
< http://www.cbc.ca/news/cbc-news-online-news-staff-list-1.1294364> Posted:
Jul 20, 2016 4:21 PM MT Last Updated: Jul 20, 2016 6:07 PM MT

The actions of a grizzly bear that attacked a couple in the Waiparous area
northwest of Calgary on Tuesday are being considered defensive and the bear
will not be euthanized, according to an investigation into the incident.
James Hayworth and his wife, Laura, were enjoying a beautiful day by the
Ghost River when a mother grizzly charged out of the woods and attacked
them.
“The cubs stumbled upon the man and the woman, and the sow then reacted to
protect her cubs,” said Brendan Cox with Alberta Justice, which oversees the
Fish and Wildlife department.
“So the bears will be left alone. They’re going to be given the space they
need to move on.”
“I thought for sure I’m going to die. I’m dead,” Hayworth told CBC News on
Tuesday.
James was left with scrapes, cuts and bruises while Laura suffered a broken
arm and multiple puncture wounds and was transported to a hospital in
Calgary. She was released on Wednesday.
The area of the attack – from Bar C Ranch west along the TransAlta road to
Banff National Park – will remain closed until further notice.
Cox said Fish and Wildlife officers will be monitoring the situation
closely.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-grizzly-attack-defensive-1.368
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British Columbia source of ‘vast majority’ of bear trophies


A grizzly bear is photographed in the Orford River, in British Columbia, in this 2011 file photo. (JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
A grizzly bear is photographed in the Orford River, in British Columbia, in this 2011 file photo. (JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

.

More than 300 shipments of grizzly bear products – including skins, skulls and rugs – have moved from Canada to the United States through U.S. ports over the past three years.

Those transactions are among nearly 17,000 imports of North American bear parts – mostly black and brown, but including grizzlies – from Canada to the United States over the same period, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Most common grizzly bear parts imported into the U.S. from Canada, 2013-2015

0102030405060708090100110120130BonesRugTrophySkullSkin2

THE GLOBE AND MAIL » SOURCE: U.S. Fish and wildlife service
data
share
×
Part Number
Skin 127
Skull 122
Trophy 78
Rug 13
Bones 2

Most common grizzly bear parts imported into the U.S. from Canada, 2013-2015

The United States has no restrictions on the legal import of grizzly bear parts and products. The European Union, however, suspended imports of grizzly hunting trophies from British Columbia in 2004 over conservation concerns.

The shipments reflect a key factor in British Columbia’s controversial grizzly hunt – American trophy hunters, who pay thousands of dollars to come to the province to hunt a species protected in parts of the United States.

Faisal Moola, director-general for Ontario and Northern Canada with the David Suzuki Foundation, estimates “the vast majority” of grizzly imports to the United States over the past three years came from B.C., based on previous research he conducted and export data he recently obtained from the provincial government.

“About 40 per cent of grizzly bears being killed in B.C. are being killed by foreign trophy hunters,” Dr. Moola said.

“The reason Americans are coming to Canada to shoot grizzly bears in B.C. is because there are no more grizzly bears in places like Washington State or California – or they are legally protected and you can’t shoot them, in places like Montana or Wyoming,” he added.

According to B.C. government figures, 29 per cent of bears were killed by “non-resident” hunters – those who don’t live in British Columbia and must enter a lottery to win the right to hunt a grizzly – in 2013. The rate was 38 per cent in 2014 and 29 per cent last year.

The average number of grizzly bears killed in each of the last three years, province-wide, was 242, with the majority of those killed by B.C. residents.

According to documents obtained through a freedom of information request from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, thousands of bear products – sorted into three-letter categories that include TRO, or trophy, which means “all the parts of one animal,” and SKU, for skull – have been shipped to the United States through dozens of ports since the beginning of 2013.

The U.S. import data obtained by The Globe and Mail do not distinguish between bears killed in recent hunting seasons and trophies that may be years or even decades old. The data also do not say whether the imports came from British Columbia or elsewhere in Canada, including Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, which also have legal grizzly hunts. (Alberta suspended its hunt in 2006.)

British Columbia’s grizzly hunt draws impassioned debate. Opponents decry the killing of animals for sport. Supporters maintain that a regulated grizzly hunt can help protect stocks of other animals, such as moose and caribou, while generating significant economic benefits.

There is also debate over whether British Columbia’s hunting regulations, which keep about 35 per cent of the province off-limits to grizzly hunting, do enough to protect grizzly bears.

Both the provincial government, which oversees the grizzly hunt, and an industry group that represents guide outfitters who depend on the hunt for part of their livelihoods say the number of bears “harvested” do not pose a conservation concern.

“Research completed by highly qualified experts over the past 20 years has consistently indicated that there are between 14,000 and 16,000 grizzly bears in B.C.,” the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia said in an April statement about the hunt. “Hunters only take 250 to 350 bears per year – a sustainable level that poses no conservation threat, especially considering that harvest is heavily biased towards mature males.”

Regulations prohibit hunters from killing bears that are less than two years old.

Conservation groups, including the Suzuki Foundation, challenge those claims, maintaining that the hunt is unsustainable and aggravates threats to grizzlies from other factors, including habitat loss.

Hunt opponents also worry that bears killed in British Columbia could be from threatened grizzly populations – either from parts of the province where hunting is restricted because of conservation concerns, or from Alaska or other states where some grizzly populations have been deemed at risk.

Grizzlies are not officially “endangered.” The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, or COSEWIC, lists grizzly bears as a species of “special concern” – one that may become threatened or endangered. Grizzly bears are also listed in Appendix II of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora, as a species that is “not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March proposed “delisting” grizzly bears from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – which would open the door to a grizzly hunt in the area, although not in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks – after conservation measures resulted in bear numbers rebounding from as few as 136 in 1975 to about 700.

A comment period that closed in May resulted in more than 100,000 submissions, both for and against the proposal.