Seal meat on the menu at Toronto restaurant sparks duelling petitions, online debate

Ku-kum Kitchen’s seal tartare draws ire from some, praise from others

By Julia Whalen, CBC News Posted: Oct 10, 2017 6:03 PM ET Last Updated: Oct 11, 201

A petition calling for a Toronto restaurant to remove seal meat from the menu has sparked an online debate between people who believe the Canadian seal hunt is inhumane and advocates for Indigenous practices.

Ku-kum Kitchen in midtown serves two dishes with seal meat — a traditional Indigenous food — in the form of tartare.

​The original petition calls for the restaurant to remove seal from its menu.

“I started a petition for the restaurant to remove seal meat from the menu because it is sourced by the commercial hunt and not the Indigenous hunt,” Jennifer Matos wrote in an email to CBC Toronto.

Demand that  in Toronto Ontario take seal meat off their menu  

Photo published for petition: Demand that Kukum Kitchen in Toronto Ontario take seal meat off their menu

petition: Demand that Kukum Kitchen in Toronto Ontario take seal meat off their menu

It was recently announced that a restaurant in Toronto, Ontario called Kukum Kitchen has started serving… (73 signatures on petition)

The counter-petition asks why the woman who started the original call to action is targeting an Indigenous restaurant when “there are literally hundreds of restaurants in Toronto that serve meat.”

“It’s time to stop the cycle of wilfully ignorant Canadians who continue to impose their ill-considered values upon Indigenous practices and people,” the petition states.

‘Canadians need to step back and start looking at Indigenous people… with respect that our culture is different.’– Aylan Couchie, Anishanaabe artist

Aylan Couchie, a Toronto artist, started the counter-petition. She’s Anishanaabe from the Nipissing First Nation.

“When I first saw [the original petition] I thought, ‘Oh, great,'” Couchie said. “We’re used to dealing with this mis-education and a little bit of ignorance about stereotypes on the regular.”

“I find it really heart-breaking that a very strong network of animal rights activists are targeting one single, small, startup, independent, Indigenous restaurant. That’s a really heavy load to bear.”

Aylan Couchie

Aylan Couchie, an Anishanaabe artist in Toronto, started the counter-petition to support Ku-kum Kitchen. (Aylan Couchie)

She said she was disheartened to not only see nearly 2,000 signatures on the original petition, but also the negative reviews targeting Ku-kum Kitchen on Google and Facebook. Some of those reviews came from people in Australia and the United States, Couchie said — and presumably have never set foot into the restaurant.

Her goal in starting the counter-petition was to show support for Ku-kum Kitchen and those who are doing their part to reclaim Indigenous culture.


Ku-kum Kitchen opened on Mount Pleasant Road in June. (Ed Middleton/CBC)

“It’s also opened up a lot of dialogue,” Couchie said. “And it was a platform for more education on the whole issue.”

“Under the guise of reconciliation, I think Canadians need to step back and start looking at Indigenous people and Indigenous culture with respect that our culture is different.”

Chef’s response

CBC Toronto reached out to Joseph Shawana, the chef at Ku-kum Kitchen on Tuesday, however, he scheduled all media interviews for Wednesday.

He has previously commented on putting seal meat on the menu.

Sharing this response from Joseph Shawana of  for the valuable information he’s shared about the sourcing of seal meat used.

In an interview with CBC in June, Shawana said he first fell in love with food while cooking next to his grandmother on Manitoulin Island’s Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve in Ontario. Ku-kum is the Cree word for grandmother, a tribute to the women in his life who inspire his love of cooking.

In that same interview, Shawana said he had hesitated to serve seal meat.

Chef Joseph Shawana

Chef Joseph Shawana says seal meat on the menu pays homage to the northern Indigenous community. (Grant Linton/CBC)

“We know there’ll be a little bit of people that will be upset about it,” he told CBC’s Eli Glasner. “But it’s part of the northern community’s culture. So we’re trying to pay homage to them, as we do with everything else.… It’s all dietary needs of the Indigenous communities from east to west.”

A familiar debate

This is far from the first time seal meat has caused a stir in Canada. Earlier this year, a Vancouver restaurant made headlines after offering Newfoundland seal pappardelle at this year’s Dine Out Vancouver festival.

“[Seal] certainly comes with its controversy, but I think it’s an important part of Canada’s food history and Canada’s food story, and I think it’s a discussion worth having,” chef Eric Pateman of Edible Canada told CBC in January.

Seal has also been served in St. John’s and Montreal.

Canada’s seal hunt has been the subject of protest for decades, with animal rights groups and celebrities like Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson calling for an end to the “inherently inhumane” killing of young seals.

The restaurant’s supplier, SeaDNA, voiced its support for Ku-kum Kitchen on Monday and defended its harvesting practices.

Sharing this response from Joseph Shawana of  for the valuable information he’s shared about the sourcing of seal meat used.

As the proud supplier of Chef Joseph we are glad to stand behind him, our industry and our products. We are dedicated to responsible and full-usage of this great Canadian resource. We encourage anyone with questions to head to to learn more.

SeaDNA’s Jonas Gilbart told CBC Toronto the company is happy to stand behind Shawana’s decision to serve seal meat.

“We know that our industry is a controversial one, but for us it’s very important that we have these conversations and we discuss the state of the industry right now in Canada in an honest way,” Gilbart said.

“We can never change a person’s morality or ethics. All we can ask is that they look at it with the facts in mind.”

He pointed to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which closely monitors the annual harvest quota for seal herds and requires mandatory training for sealers. The department enforces a three-step process in how seals are killed, regulates the tools used and bans the harvesting of young seals.

Jonas Gilbart SeaDNA

SeaDNA’s Jonas Gilbart says his company, the supplier of the restaurant’s seal meat, is happy to stand behind Shawana. (CBC)

“We could probably tell you what fisherman or what harvester caught your seal or brought your seal home,” he said. “All we ask is that consumers in Canada, people who eat meat, have honest conversations about what we would demand of our sourcing and of ourselves.”

Ku-kum Kitchen is the only Toronto restaurant SeaDNA supplies, but Gilbart said the company also works with several restaurants in Quebec and British Columbia as well as more than a dozen in Atlantic Canada.

Sylvanus Thompson, a spokesperson for Toronto Public Health, told CBC Toronto he is not aware of any rules that prohibit the sale of seal meat in restaurants.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency told CBC seals are subject to the same food safety requirements as other aquatic food products intended for human consumption. There are no federal regulations against serving seal meat in restaurants.

SeaDNA said its processing facilities are all certified by the CFIA.


Hunter airlifted to hospital after wounded moose fights back

With hoof prints stamped on his forehead, Rodney Buffett hopes to hunt again
this weekend

CBC News <>
Posted: Oct 09, 2017 5:01 PM NT Last Updated: Oct 09, 2017 7:23 PM NT

A Newfoundland man was attacked by a bull moose near Grand Bank on Saturday
after shooting it twice. (Radio-Canada)

Rodney Buffett entered the woods on the weekend as the hunter, but emerged
hours later on a medevac chopper as the hunted.

Buffett survived a five-minute battle with a wounded moose near Grand Bank
on Newfoundland’s south coast.

He was released from hospital on Monday morning without any broken bones, or
bottles of moose meat, but did return home to Fortune with a souvenir.

“I’ve got hoof prints in my forehead,” he told the St. John’s Morning Show.

Moose fights back after being shot

The moose-mauling began when Buffett spotted the animal on Saturday morning.
He sized up the 14-point bull before taking two shots, both of which hit the
animal, he said.

The moose went down quickly and put its four legs in the air. An experienced
hunter, Buffet began to approach the animal, as he has done many times

“I thought he was dead. I laid my gun down and turned back to my fiancée and
told her to bring down my knives. When I turned around again he was up.”

The moose lunged toward the hunter and drilled him with its antlers. Buffett
said the moose tossed its head back and flicked him up in the air before he
crashed to the ground.

The moose began stomping on him as Buffett tried to grab hold of it.

“I held onto his antlers and tried to steer him away,” he said. “But it
seemed like forever.”

Buffett’s fiancée watched helplessly from a hill above him, binoculars
pressed to her eyes.

Airlifted to hospital in St. John’s

After Buffett landed some kicks to the moose’s forehead, the animal let him
go and trotted off into the woods.

“I couldn’t move after that,” he said.

Paramedics made a three-kilometre trek through the bush to find Buffett.
They called for help and a medevac helicopter came from St. John’s to
airlift him to hospital.

Buffett received stitches and staples to his head, hands and chest, but was
otherwise intact. He was held in hospital for extensive testing over the
weekend, but said he did not suffer a concussion or internal injuries.

“They tells me I’m hard-headed,” he said.

Despite the terrifying experience, Buffett plans to head back into the woods
as soon as possible. An avid hunter since he was old enough to shoot a gun,
he won’t be deterred by one bad day in the woods.

“I’m hoping to be back moose hunting again about Friday or Saturday with any
luck at all,” he said. “I’d go today, but no, [the doctor] wouldn’t let me.”

While he can joke about the experience now, Buffett was too shaken up to
sleep on Saturday night.

“Every time I closed my eyes I could see the moose coming after me.… It’s
something I’ll never forget.”


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:

38 Signators:
• Animal Advocates of BC
• Animal Alliance of Canada
• Animal Justice
• Animal Protection Party
• Applied Conservation GIS
• BC Nature
• 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


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.


1. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Grizzly Bear of Canada,

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,

Bear 148 hunter knew bear was wearing tracking collar before kill

‘This was a legal hunt and no investigation is underway,’ says B.C.
Conservation Officer Service

The Canadian Press Posted: Sep 28, 2017 3:56 PM MT Last Updated: Sep 28,
2017 6:07 PM MT

Bear 148, seen here in an undated handout photo, was killed Sunday in the
McBride region of British Columbia by a hunter with a guide.

Related Stories

0406> Famous Banff-area grizzly killed by hunter in B.C.
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uncertain future
unting-in-bc-announced-1.4247060> B.C. to pull plug on grizzly bear trophy
Bear 148 moved from Bow Valley to remote area north of Jasper

The hunter that killed a notorious female grizzly bear in B.C. after the
bear wandered into the province from Alberta knew the animal was wearing a
research tracking collar but shot it anyway.

The Alberta government had moved the grizzly, known as Bear 148, in July
from its home range in a popular developed area west of Calgary to a remote
park north of Jasper to protect public safety.

0406> Famous Banff-area grizzly killed by hunter in B.C.

The grizzly, which is a threatened species in Alberta, hadn’t hurt anyone
but had gotten too close to people too many times around the Canmore and
Banff area.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service said the bear was shot on Sunday in
the McBride region by a non-resident hunter who was with a guide.

“The guide and hunter knew that the bear was collared prior to harvest,” the
service said in an email. “This was a legal hunt and no investigation is

According to B.C.’s hunting and trapping guide, hunters are advised to not
avoid shooting tagged or collared animals, unless specified, to ensure
biologists get accurate data on mortality rates.

Hunters who kill a tagged animal are asked to report it.

No information on the hunter was given.

Bear closures

Last month, B.C. announced it would end the grizzly bear trophy hunt as of
Nov. 30, saying it is inconsistent with the values of most British

Brett Boukall, a senior wildlife biologist with Alberta Environment, said
data from Bear 148’s tracking collar suggests the grizzly had not been a
problem before it was killed.

“It was kind of being the perfect bear doing bear things away from people,”
he said. “To my knowledge, there had been no reports of any conflicts.”

After the bear was relocated in July, it wandered around its new range in
the northern Alberta wilderness.

Bear crossed into B.C. Friday

The tracking data suggests it crossed into B.C. on Friday after a storm
dumped snow in the region, perhaps making it more difficult for it to find
food, Boukall said. It was wandering toward the Fraser River when it was

“Myself and my colleagues felt disappointed that this has occurred, but at
the same time recognized that this is something that is a part of being a
bear in today’s busy landscape with the ability for legal harvest on the
B.C. side,” he said.

Conservationists are concerned about the death of Bear 148, which was
nearing the age to have cubs.

ure-wednesday-1.4310724> ‘If the bear wanted me . I’m the bear’s lunch’:
Jogger comes close enough to touch grizzly in Calgary park

Candace Batycki of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative said the
fact the bear had to be relocated from its home range in the highly
developed Bow Valley west of Calgary shows how difficult it is for grizzlies
to survive.

Batycki said more must be done to protect them.

“Bear 148 was not in a protected area when she was killed but she was in
grizzly bear habitat,” she said. “Her death highlights the need for
collaborative cross-border conversation between B.C. and Alberta.”

Bear death a case of bad timing

Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips called the death of Bear 148 a
case of bad timing.

“The new government has not moved forward with their regulations yet because
they are new and the grizzly hunt remains legal across the border in British

There are about 700 grizzly bears in Alberta. It has been illegal to hunt
grizzlies in the province since 2006.


1.4312369> Bear 148 hunter knew bear was wearing tracking collar before kill

The hunter that killed a notorious female grizzly bear in B.C. after the
bear wandered into the province from Alberta knew the animal was wearing a
research tracking collar but shot it anyway.

$13K fine for killing grizzly deemed ‘scandalous’ by conservationists


‘The grizzly bear in Alberta is a threatened species,’ says group that had hoped for higher fine

The Canadian Press Posted: Sep 22, 2017 7:54 AM MT Last Updated: Sep 22, 2017 10:20 AM MT

A collared grizzly bear that was being tracked for research by officials in Jasper National Park was killed by a hunter.

A collared grizzly bear that was being tracked for research by officials in Jasper National Park was killed by a hunter. (Government of Yukon)

 An Alberta man charged with killing a collared grizzly bear that was being tracked for research will pay nearly $13,000 in fines, but some say that’s not enough to protect the threatened species.

Ronald Raymond Motkoski pleaded guilty earlier this month in an Edson, Alta., courtroom to possession of wildlife and was fined $2,500. He’s also required to pay $5,000 to Alberta’s BearSmart program and $5,202.76 for the cost of the tracking collar.

Neither he nor his lawyer could be reached for comment this week.

Motkoski was charged in June 2016 after Fish and Wildlife officers were notified by fRI Research that a collar put on grizzly bear No. 141 in Jasper National Park had stopped working near Edson, about 200 kilometres west of Edmonton.

It was determined the three-year-old male grizzly had been shot and killed.

Motkoski told researchers he shot the bear

The Crown prosecutor withdrew a charge of hunting wildlife in a closed season and providing a false or misleading statement. A spokesperson for the province said the charges were withdrawn because some of the evidence did not suggest a reasonable likelihood of conviction.

Another man, John Peter Grant of Fort McMurray, Alta., pleaded guilty on Feb. 2 to unlawful possession of wildlife related to the death of the same bear and was fined a total of $6,000.

Critics say the fines are too low.

“It’s absolutely scandalous,” said Jill Seaton, chair of the Jasper Environmental Association. “The grizzly bear in Alberta is a threatened species.”

Gordon Stenhouse, a scientist with the fRI Research grizzly bear program, said he also had higher expectations.

“I thought there would be a different outcome,” he said, noting the maximum fine is $100,000.

A threatened species

Grizzly bears were listed as threatened in Alberta in 2010 when it was determined there were only about 700 left. A recovery strategy was introduced aimed at reducing conflicts between bears and people.

Poaching remains a problem in Alberta, with statistics showing at least 39 grizzly bears have been killed illegally since a legal hunt ended in 2005.

Bear No. 141 was considered important because he was fitted with a GPS collar in Jasper and left the park within a few weeks.

“It’s quite rare that a bear in Jasper takes off,” said Stenhouse.

Officials with Jasper National Park declined to comment.

Stenhouse said that valuable research was lost with the death of the bear.

No. 141 “was one of a very few bears that we have seen make long-distance movements from Jasper National Park over the past 18 years of research in this area,” he said in an impact statement prepared for court.

“The movements and habitat use of this bear were of significant interest to us in learning more about home range establishment and response to human activities.”

‘An unfortunate loss’

Despite getting about $5,000 to replace the bear’s tracking collar, he said it’s also a financial hit for the program.

“This is an unfortunate loss and does not address any of our time, effort or cost that our research team invested in the successful capture of this bear,” he said.

Losing even one bear hurts the province’s recovery plan, he said.

“From a broader perspective, the key issue is on the common and ongoing problem of the illegal killing of bears,” said Stenhouse. “Some members of the public appear to remain unwilling to share a common landscape and co-exist with this species.”

Should those attitudes continue, he said it’s unlikely that future generations will see grizzly bears anywhere other than the most remote areas of the national parks.

Longlac man fined after shooting trophy bear; 760-pound animal was shot at the Longlac dump

Trophy bear was shot near Longlac in 2014.

The shooting three years ago of one of the largest black bears ever
harvested in Ontario has led to a stiff fine and the loss of hunting
privileges for a Longlac man.

Michael A. Gauthier was convicted after a trial in Geraldton this week and
fined $5,000 for hunting black bear within 400 metres of a waste disposal

He was also fined $1,000 for possessing wildlife illegally, and received a
four-year hunting suspension. The bear was forfeited to the Crown.

According to a news release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and
Forestry, court was told that on September 13, 2014, Gauthier shot and
wounded a 760-pound bear within the Longlac waste disposal site. Several
hours later, he returned to the site where he dispatched the injured bear.

The MNRF news release refers to the animal as a trophy bear.

Skull size is the usual measurement for determining bear records.

The weight listed in the news release was the “dressed” weight, measured
after the internal organs were removed. lists the largest recorded weight for a black bear as
816 pounds.

However, the Federation for the Recognition of Ontario Wildlife says its
records show the heaviest bear ever harvested in the province was 780
pounds. It was shot by a hunter using a cross-bow in the Nipissing area in

Yukon outfitters want to know: will the B.C. grizzly bear trophy ban come north?

Big game outfitters in the Yukon are disappointed with a move to ban trophy hunting of grizzly bears…

By Cheryl Kawaja, CBC News

…in British Columbia and hope a similar
ban is not adopted in the territory.

“It will probably put some pressure on the Yukon to start limiting the
grizzly hunt,” said Neil Cosco, an outfitter who guides clients north of

B.C.’s Natural Resources Minister Doug Donaldson said the ban, which comes
into effect at the end of November, is not about numbers but rather reflects
changing social norms.

About 250 grizzlies are killed annually by hunters in B.C., a number
Donaldson said is “sustainable” for the population estimated at 15,000
bears, but he said public opinion on the practice has turned.

‘Unfortunate political move’

Cosco calls it an unfortunate political move.

“Grizzly bears… become a political topic, so people look at grizzly bears
in isolation where it should be part of holistic game management, where if
you’re managing the prey species you need to manage the predators,” he said.

Outfitter Don Lind, who guides in central Yukon, also questions the B.C.

“I don’t see how a new government could get in there and assess the
situation and make a decision that rapidly, other than it’s a political

According to the Yukon Outfitters Association, about 80 grizzly bears are
hunted annually in the Yukon, and although it’s one of the more popular
species for visiting hunters, it comes after Dall sheep and moose.

Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson hopes the ban in B.C. on trophy hunting grizzly
bears will lead the territorial government to take a closer look at grizzly
bear management.

Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson says the territorial government should look at
the Yukon grizzly hunting situation and how B.C.’s decision might affect the
territory. (CBC)

“My initial reaction is, what are we going to do in the Yukon?” Hanson said.

“The issue of how we treat our grizzly bear population is not something
that’s new here and my concern was – when I saw this ban in British Columbia
– that there would be increased pressure on big game outfitting by the big
game outfitting industry in the Yukon.”

“We don’t even know in the Yukon for sure how many grizzlies there are. If
you look at the government’s website they talk about maybe six or seven
thousand. They do say that there are some concerns,” she said.

Hanson wants to see the government step up research and make informed
decisions about the bear population.

“I would hope that they would now use this as a spur to work with the Fish
and Wildlife Management Board to get the data, and take action if necessary.
And, if that means that there is ultimately a ban, then maybe that’s where
we have to go,” she said.

Yukon Environment Minister Pauline Frost was unavailable for comment

But the department noted in a statement that it’s already working on a plan
“related to grizzly bear conservation and species management.”

It says that plan will provide “direction for addressing the range of values
and issues related to conservation and management, in this case for grizzly
bears, across Yukon.”

Number of black bears killed by cars and trains concerns national parks officials

First half of 2017 has seen 7 bears killed compared to a total of 8 last year

CBC News

Parks Canada officials say they are doing what they can to prevent wildlife deaths on highways and along train tracks after seven black bears were  killed in the first half of the year, compared to eight throughout 2016.

Four of the bears were killed when they were hit by vehicles on the Trans-Canada Highway running through Banff National Park — the most recent about five weeks ago near the Norquay exit.

“When a bear does get over the fence or crosses one of the cattle guards, which black bears can do fairly readily, it’s a fairly dangerous situation, there’s just so many cars on that roadway,” said Bill Hunt, a resource conservation manager for Parks Canada.

An average of eight black bears are killed annually by motorists and trains travelling through the three national parks — Banff, Yoho and Kootenay — west of Calgary.

Hunt says officials have tried installing different types of fencing along highway corridors, and using electrified mats in places where animals might try to cross roads or railway tracks.

“We’ve spent a lot of effort mitigating the Trans-Canada Highway because of the amount of traffic and the risk to wildlife and to visitors, striking a vehicle at highway speeds,” he said.

“We had problems with wolves and bears getting under the fence and we now have a buried apron. It’s actually about a [one metre] deep section of chain link we bury underneath the fence, then it’s individually stitched all the way along so they can’t dig their way under.”

That’s stopped animals from going under the fences, but bears can easily climb the poles.

Hunt says visitors to the parks can help reduce the deaths by obeying speed limits and reporting wildlife on the roads.

How human stupidity is putting access to Canada’s national parks at risk




It was the closest I’d ever come to a bear.

A buddy and I had just finished a day of paddling on Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, way back in the summer of 2008.

On the way out of town, we slowed to a crawl to go around a few cars parked haphazardly on the road.

I thought it might have been an accident scene — but it was more like an accident waiting to happen.

The cars were hurriedly abandoned because their occupants were all outside on the pavement, edging toward the shoulder, eager to grab pictures of two bear cubs foraging in the ditch.

In no mood to be around when momma bear would eventually show up, we rolled up the windows and high-tailed it out of there before you could say boo.

You’ve probably read and heard of many more such irresponsible encounters over the years, the latest of which was reported last week in Banff National Park.

According to media reports, a Calgary-based wildlife photographer was left aghast as he witnessed 20 to 30 people standing too close to a grizzly, disregarding a request by a Parks official to disperse.

One particularly fearless visitor was recorded as he walked right up to the bear, within only a few metres of it, in apparent bid to snap a photo.

These people were clearly too close: Parks Canada advises visitors to stay at least 100 metres from such animals as bears, wolves and cougars.

Parks officials also expressed frustration last week after multiple instances of food being left unsecured at a concession stand at Lake Minnewanka in Banff, leading a bear to feed there.

“We spent a lot of time and effort last summer and this spring to make people know how to behave and we’re disappointed,” Parks Canada ecologist Jesse Whittington told Postmedia.

The long list of extraordinarily dumb interactions between humans and nature makes me question whether people understand what our national parks are for.

They are there to preserve and foster the wonders and beauty of our natural world.

People are meant to experience and appreciate those things from a distance.

Humans should be visitors to our parks in much more than the literal sense: Our natural spaces shouldn’t be any worse after we’ve gone through.

The already difficult act of balancing conservation with tourism has undoubtedly become more difficult for Parks Canada as an increasing number of Canadians are availing themselves of their national parks system.

Every park in our neck of the woods has seen growing annual attendance figures between 2011 and 2016.

There’s been double-digit growth at Elk Island (up 30%), Wood Buffalo (20%) and Waterton Lakes (16%).

More people are also going to Banff (up 8%), Kootenay (8%), Mount Revelstoke & Glacier (7%), Yoho (6%) and Jasper (5%).

Banff and Jasper continue to lead the way in sheer attendance numbers countrywide, with 3,894,332 and 2,266,072 respectively in 2015-16.

And with free entry to national parks this year to coincide with Canada 150 celebrations, those numbers are sure to remain healthy.

Sadly, the number of naughty people will likely be healthy, too.

Continued human misbehaviour bolsters the case of those who believe we should tighten access to our national parks.

Loss of access would be a shame, as seeing nature first-hand is a fantastic and unrivalled educational experience.

Of course, this only works if people are actually willing to learn.

And as the recent influx of stupidity shows, too many of us aren’t.

On Twitter: @RickyLeongYYC

Bad news for Banff bears

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 06:00 am

By: Cathy Ellis

Banff National Park’s wildlife staff had its hands full last weekend trying to keep people and bears safe, while also investigating a possible grizzly bear strike on the train tracks near Bow Valley Parkway.

A bold black bear that got into a bag of garbage at a backcountry campsite along Lake Minnewanka led to the evacuation of several people in the area and a closure along the lakeshore from Stewart Canyon to the Banff National Park boundary.

Wildlife managers were also called to downtown Banff after grizzly bear 136, a 553-pound male bear nicknamed Split Lip for a scar that led to a disfigured lip, attempted to take a stroll across the Bow River pedestrian bridge, Friday (May 26).

Canadian Pacific Railway train crews then reported a westbound freight train may have struck a grizzly bear on the tracks west of Muleshoe about 6:45 a.m. Sunday (May 28) – an area scientists refer to as “a killing field” for grizzly bears.

Bill Hunt, Parks Canada’s resource conservation manager for Banff National Park, said Parks is currently waiting to look at CP’s footage from a camera mounted on the train.

“Staff attended the site and weren’t able to locate anything yet … nothing at all,” said Hunt, noting they are heading back to the area to do a more fine-scale search.

“Hopefully we’ll get some footage, although sometimes it doesn’t tell us much. The bear can disappear from view.”

Grizzly bears are a threatened species in Alberta and trains are the single biggest killers of grizzly bears here, with at least 17 bears killed on the tracks since 2000, taking a toll on the slow-reproducing population of about 60 bears.

Salem Woodrow, a spokesperson for CP, said no evidence has been found so far of a bear being hit.

“We continue to investigate with Parks,” she wrote in an email.

Meanwhile, a closure is in place in the Lake Minnewanka area after an unmarked black bear got into garbage at Mount Costigan campground (Lm20), 18.8 kilometres along the lake.

The closure now includes the Minnewanka lakeshore trail from Stewart Canyon to the Banff National Park boundary, including Aylmer Pass trail. All backcountry campgrounds are closed, including Lm8, Lm9, Lm11, Lm20, Lm22 and Lm31.

Hunt said a group of about 10 people was packing up to leave Lm20 campground on Saturday (May 27) morning when the bear came into the campsite and rummaged through a bag of garbage.

“It’s unusual for a bear to come in with a group this large. They were hollering and yelling and backed off and maintained distance from the bear, but the bear came right in,” he said.

“It wasn’t super aggressive and did not bluff charge or anything like that. They were packing up to head out. It was a difficult situation and, unfortunately, the bear got a food reward.”

The campers, who did have bear spray, flagged down a passing boat, which took them back to the Lake Minnewanka day use area where they were able to call Parks staff to let them know what happened.

Resource conservation officers scoured the area for any sign of the black bear, but were unable to locate it. It was described as a cinnamon coloured bear with a unique dark pattern down its front.

Hunt said they did, however, spot one black bear with a cub and a grizzly bear with cubs in the region.

“We cleared out everyone along the lakeshore, and all the backcountry campsites,” said Hunt, noting boat tour operators on Lake Minnewanka helped in getting people back to the day use area.

Hunt said Parks Canada has ramped up patrols in day use areas at Lake Minnewanka and nearby Two Jack Lake, educating people about the need to keep food secured and put away if they are not at their picnic sites.

“If a bear has gotten a food reward it’s more likely to want more,” he said.

Grizzly bear 136, thought to be about 12 years old, caused some anxious moments when he tried to cross the pedestrian bridge in the Banff townsite on Friday about 8:45 a.m.

Hunt said he showed up on the south side of the pedestrian bridge, but staff were able to haze him back the way he came and move him slowly westward under the vehicle bridge and out behind the horse corrals.

“Certainly he’s a big male bear and he doesn’t worry too much about anything,” he said. “He was fairly reluctant to be hazed.”

Bear 136 has an interesting history.

He possibly killed, but definitely ate, a black bear in the remote Mystic Pass area of Banff in 2015. In 2014, it was suspected he killed cubs belonging to bear 130, whose home range includes an area from Banff to Castle Mountain, as well as bear 138 in the Lake Louise and Skoki region.

That same year, 136 and the Bow Valley’s dominant male bear, known as 122 and nicknamed The Boss, also forced temporary closure of Vermilion Lakes Road during breeding season. Because the two big bears were on the road – which was busy with vehicles, bikers and hikers – at the same time, Parks Canada didn’t want anyone in the vicinity if they got into a fight over a female bear.

Split Lip also caused some anxious moments last August. While he wasn’t aggressive, he wasn’t interested in moving away and continued to move along the trail at Johnston Canyon despite about 20 hikers heading in his direction.

After he was hazed out of the Banff townsite last Friday, he was later captured in a bear trap intended for female bear 148 sometime Sunday evening. Parks took the opportunity to put a GPS collar on him.

“Because of his history and his recent foray into town, it makes sense we have a collar on him,” said Hunt.