Washington residents split on reintroducing grizzly bears

http://www.king5.com/story/tech/science/environment/2015/06/15/north-cascades-reintroducing-grizzly-bears-debate/71252514/

Teresa Yuan, KING 5 June 15, 2015

NORTH BEND, Wash – The debate to reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades has drawn support and criticism.

The National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service drafted a plan to bring the endangered species back to the North Cascades almost 30 years ago as the their numbers were dwindling.

This process has been slow until public meetings held by the federal government around Western Washington in March. In total, nearly 500 people showed up.

The government received more than 3,000 comments throughout the process, with grizzly bears being called “man-eating monsters” to “mystical creatures.”

Under the federal government’s plan, the protected grizzly bear would be returned to federal lands running from the Canadian border to Wenatchee, and extending west to Darrington and North Bend.

Biologists believe there used to be as many as 100,000 grizzlies on the West Coast. Now, there may be only two dozen left in Washington.

In one of the 3,000 comments, a supporter wrote: “Grizzly bears are an icon that represent healthy wilderness eco-systems in the Pacific Northwest. To sustain an integral part of what makes our country unique and wonderful we must sustain umbrella species such as the grizzly bear.”

On the other side, someone posted: “As much as I love wildlife, I am not supportive of re-introduction of grizzlies to Washington state. I also find that hiking in Glacier and Yellowstone to be extremely scary, and I want a wild place to go where I don’t have worry about grizzlies.”

The federal government is expected to make a final recommendation in late 2017 about whether or not to reintroduce the grizzly bears back to the North Cascades.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Conservationists Challenge Grizzly Killing in Grand Teton National Park

Federally approved ‘take’ of grizzly bears threatens recovery

Grizzly bear and cub in Yellowstone National Park.

Grizzly bear and cub in Yellowstone National Park.  Jim Peaco / National Park Service

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)–April 6, 2015. Conservation groups have filed a legal challenge against two federal agencies for approving the killing of four grizzly bears, a threatened species, within Grand Teton National Park in northwest Wyoming.

The lawsuit, filed last Friday, April 3, by Earthjustice on behalf of the Sierra Club and Western Watersheds Project, targets September 2013 actions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Park Service to allow the lethal “taking” of four grizzly bears over the next seven years in connection with a fall elk hunt in Grand Teton National Park.

“Authorizing the killing of four grizzly bears in a national park is not good management for grizzlies or national parks,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “The government should be working to eliminate grizzly mortality threats, not handing out authorizations to kill grizzly bears in one of our nation’s premiere national parks.”

The agencies authorized the challenged grizzly “takings” in response to an incident on Thanksgiving Day 2012 in which three hunters participating in the Grand Teton elk hunt shot and killed an adult male grizzly bear.  Anticipating more such conflicts as the region’s grizzlies increasingly turn to meat-based food sources such as hunter-killed or wounded elk, federal officials in September 2013 approved the killing of four more grizzly bears in connection with future elk hunts in Grand Teton through the year 2022.

In doing so, however, government officials failed to consider the cumulative impacts of the expected Grand Teton “takings” together with other grizzly bear mortality that federal agencies have authorized.  The authorized killing of these four grizzlies, when added to the amount of other similar grizzly  “take” determinations issued by FWS and currently in effect for other actions in the Greater Yellowstone region, could result in the killing of as many as 65 female grizzly bears in a single year. This level of mortality exceeds sustainable levels for female bears set by government biologists by more than three times.

“Allowing four additional grizzly bears – a threatened species – to be killed in one our nation’s most iconic national parks, without even requiring significant measures to reduce conflicts between people and bears, is inexcusable,” said Bonnie Rice with Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign. “The Fish and Wildlife Service has repeatedly increased the number of grizzly bears that can be killed, without looking at the broader impact on grizzly recovery in the region.”

“Throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service appears to have forgotten basic math,” added Jonathan Ratner of Western Watersheds Project.  “They have been handing out permits for the killing of grizzly bears like candy but they have conveniently forgotten to add up all of the take they have authorized.”

Legal Document: http://earthjustice.org/documents/legal-document/complaint-conservationists-challenge-grizzly-killing-in-grand-teton-national-park

Background:

Federal biologists acknowledge that the growth of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population has flattened over the past decade. Recently, the grizzly population has been faced with the loss of two of its most important food sources in the Yellowstone region—whitebark pine seeds and cutthroat trout—due to changing environmental conditions driven in part by a warming climate. In the wake of these changes, scientists have documented the bears’ transition to a more meat-based diet, but that diet leads to a greater potential for conflict with human activities, resulting in more grizzly mortalities.

Such increasing grizzly bear mortalities are of particular concern because analysis of government grizzly bear conflict and mortality data shows a declining population trend for the Yellowstone-area population from 2007-2013. Veteran grizzly biologist David Mattson documented these findings in a declaration supporting the conservationists’ challenge.

In its decision , FWS reasoned that approved grizzly killing associated with the Grand Teton elk hunt would remain within sustainable levels. However, the conservationists contend that FWS cannot rely on compliance with sustainable grizzly mortality thresholds to justify additional killing of Yellowstone bears unless federal officials consider the impacts of all the grizzly bear mortality they have anticipated across the region.

The Grand Teton elk hunt results from a misguided program of winter elk feeding on the nearby Jackson Hole National Elk Refuge. The longstanding elk feeding program began for the altruistic purpose of sustaining elk through the harsh Northern Rockies winter.  More recently, however, the crowding of elk on winter feed lines has been documented to subject the elk to a severe threat of wildlife disease mortality that outweighs the benefits of feeding.  Further, the practice has led to the artificial inflation of the elk population such that the extraordinary step of hunting in a national park—with associated grizzly bear mortality—has been deemed necessary to control elk numbers.

Matteson Declaration: http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/Mattson%20Declaration.pdf

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Source: www.earthjustice.org

A Trophy Hunt By Any Other Name

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/chris-genovali/bc-bear-hunt-trophy_b_6913970.html

by 

Executive Director, Raincoast Conservation Foundation

Good intentions aside, Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver has introduced a poorly thought-out private member’s bill requiring trophy hunters to pack out the “edible meat” from any grizzly bear they kill in British Columbia. In an interview with the Vancouver Observer, Weaver triumphantly claimed, “If this bill were to pass, it puts an end to [the] trophy killing of grizzly bears.”

But as Shannon McPhail, executive director of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, aptly summed up, Weaver’s bill would not impact the B.C. grizzly hunt “one bit.” Not only would the bill do nothing to stop, or even reduce, the recreational killing of grizzlies, it would end up providing cover for grizzly killers who would like nothing more than to be able to mischaracterize their trophy hunting of bears as a food hunt.

Doug Neasloss, elected councillor and stewardship director for the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation, states: “Weaver’s bill is not in alignment with the position of Coastal First Nations who have unanimously banned the trophy hunting of bears in our traditional territories under tribal law. It does not matter what the end use of the bear is, killing them is prohibited in our territories. The Kitasoo/Xai’xais have made a significant investment in tourism centred around bear viewing and it is the second largest employer in our community; we need these bears alive.”

Weaver seems not to recognize that the motivation and desire of trophy hunters to bag a grizzly bear will certainly prevail over the relatively minor expense and annoyance of having to “pack the meat out.”

A renowned large carnivore expert and former member of the B.C. government’s grizzly bear scientific advisory committee, Raincoast Conservation Foundation senior scientist Dr. Paul Paquet states, “I have struggled to understand the logic underlying the unequivocal and resolute claims that, if enacted, this proposed legislation would end the hunting of grizzlies for trophies. Simply, Weaver’s assertions and declared facts sound authoritative but are dead wrong. The supposed effectiveness of this proposed legislation is scientifically naïve and irrelevant to the facts.”

Not surprisingly, the two most prominent trophy hunting lobby groups in the province, the Guide Outfitting Association of B.C. and the B.C. Wildlife Federation, enthusiastically support the “pack the meat out” concept.

Despite decades of strong opposition to this very policy, the GOABC and the BCWF now clearly see the benefit of camouflaging their recreational killing of grizzlies as something other than the gratuitous slaying of a trophy animal.

In fact, the GOABC, preceding Weaver’s bill, introduced the concept months ago during a radio debate with Raincoast on CFAX 1070, stating they would be petitioning the province to enact similar “pack the meat out” regulations. In what can only be described as a macabre act of charity, the GOABC had the gall to further state they intend to donate the grizzly remains to food banks, never mind the potential for contracting trichinosis and other pathogens, thank you.

Unfortunately, this is not Weaver’s first misstep with regard to the grizzly hunt and large carnivores of late. During the recent debate over Minister Steve Thomson’s decision on wildlife allocation, he echoed the BCWF’s talking points that gave the impression the policy gives more wildlife to foreign hunters than resident hunters.

The reality is that resident hunters have always, and will continue, to receive the great majority of allocated wildlife in the province. Parenthetically, Weaver has also endorsed the unscientific and unethical B.C. wolf cull, mirroring the BCWF once again.

Complaining about not getting enough wildlife to kill, as compared to non-resident hunters, was prominent in the BCWF’s calculated messaging. In contrast, provincial mortality statistics show that from 1978 through 2011, resident hunters killed 5,900 grizzlies while non-resident hunters killed 4,100. To those 10,000 bears it was no consolation whether the bullets ripping through their bodies, causing immeasurable pain and suffering, were fired from the guns of resident or non-resident hunters.

Why Weaver would choose to hitch his wagon to the BCWF’s misleading wildlife allocation campaign, and subsequently introduce a bill that would enable grizzly killers to adopt the façade of a food hunt, remains confounding, especially given the B.C. Green Party’s official policy goal to “eliminate sport and trophy hunting of grizzly bears.”

April’s arrival will see resident and non-resident trophy hunters fan out across the B.C. landscape in search of grizzlies to kill, while the bears in their sights are preoccupied with the greenery that will sustain them until the salmon and berries they seek are ready in the fall.

In the fall, these hunters will repeat the process, this time focusing on the salmon streams and berry patches where the bears must be in order to secure the nutrition they need. By the end of November, 300 to 350 grizzlies will be dead. More than 100 of them will be females.

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 hides and heads will continue to be transformed into rugs for living rooms and prizes for trophy rooms. In other words, the killing will continue and the trophies will still be mounted, despite misguided attempts to proclaim the end of the grizzly trophy hunt by doing nothing more than renaming it.

This article was co-authored by Raincoast Conservation Foundation guide outfitter coordinator Brian Falconer.

A version of this article previously ran in the Victoria Times Colonist.

—Wildlife Photography©Jim Robertson

—Wildlife Photography©Jim Robertson

Montana Multiple Grizzly Bear-Killer Charged With “Unlawful Taking”

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

November 09, 2014 5:26 pm  • 

Everett Skunkcap, of Browning, showed no apparent remorse for allegedly shooting three grizzly bears Aug. 6, reportedly telling Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife investigators that last year he shot another grizzly bear and if “any grizzlies were on his property he would shoot them again,” according to the probable cause affidavit filed in the case Nov. 5. “Skunkcap was instructed to call the (Fish and Wildlife) office if there were bear management issues” but “Skunkcap responded that he would just shoot them anyway.”

Grizzly bears are a federally protected species, listed as threatened.

Investigators reported that one of the bears, a female, was approximately 17 years old and the other two were about a year and a half old.

Skunkcap took an investigator to the site where he allegedly shot the bears and said he shot the “mother grizzly” first and then shot one of the young bears. The third bear, he said, ran after he shot the first two but returned an hour later and “stood over the two dead grizzlies.” Skunkcap told the investigator that he “figured this grizzly was going to ‘raise hell’ later that night” so he “’might as well do away with it as well.”

Skunkcap told investigators he was alerted to the bears by his dogs at around 10 a.m. and when he spotted them they were walking in the direction of his three grandchildren. He said the bears were about 300 feet from the children. He said the bears were not running and his grandchildren ran into the house. “Skunkcap admitted that all the kids were in the house when he shot the third grizzly.”

Skunkcap reportedly asked if he would get the grizzlies back following the investigation as he wanted to “tan them and put them up on the wall … as a souvenir of what he did.”

Skunkcap was charged with three counts of unlawful taking of a threatened species, each count punishable by up to six months in prison and a maximum $25,000 fine.

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

http://www.calgaryherald.com/Grizzly+involved+fatal+attack+hunter+will+stay+Country+with/10196069/story.html

By Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald September 11, 2014

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

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

Photograph by: Facebook photo , Calgary Herald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cderworiz@calgaryherald.com

Feds to Consider Translocating Bears to North Cascades National Park

biologicaldivesity.org

August 21, 2014

Contact: Noah Greenwald,

One Month After Center Files Petition to Expand Grizzly Bear Recovery Feds Take Action

WASHINGTON— The National Park Service this week took an important step toward recovering grizzly bears in the North Cascades in Washington state. The agency says it is beginning a three-year process to analyze options for boosting grizzly bear populations in the area, including the possibility of translocating bears and developing a viable population.

“We’re happy to see the Park Service begin the long-overdue conversation about bringing grizzly bears back to the North Cascades,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Grizzlies have lost more than 95 percent of their historic habitat in the lower 48 states so we welcome any step that brings them closer to returning to some of their ancestral homes.”

In June, the Center petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to begin returning grizzly bears to vast swaths of the American West. The petition identified more than 110,000 square miles of potential grizzly bear habitat, including parts of Washington, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

Today, there are roughly 1,500-1,800 grizzly bears in the continental United States, most of them in and around Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. The grizzly populations remain separated from each other, which impedes genetic exchange and limits their ability to expand into new areas.

The Northern Cascades ecosystem includes about 9,800 square miles in the United States and 3,800 square miles in Canada. A grizzly bear has not been spotted on the U.S. side since 2010.

“The Northern Cascades has the potential to host a viable grizzly bear population,” Greenwald said. “The same could be said for many spots scattered throughout the West. If grizzly bears are ultimately going to have a thriving, healthy population no longer threatened by extinction, they’ve got to be given a chance to return to some of the places they were driven out of years ago.”

The Park Service says it will develop its “environmental impact statement” for grizzly bears in the North Cascades in conjunction with the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Grizzly bear killed in Idaho livestock incident

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/wildlife/article_5162bf36-218b-11e4-b95e-001a4bcf887a.html?utm_source=sitetoprelated&utm_medium=desktop&utm_campaign=bt

LAURA LUNDQUIST, Chronicle Staff Writer The Bozeman Daily Chronicle | 2 Comments

Wardens killed a male grizzly bear Sunday in another livestock-related incident along Montana’s southwestern border.

Workers had reported the death of cattle on a ranch that is part of Idaho’s Harriman State Park west of Island Park Reservoir and Yellowstone National Park and just south of the Montana border.

The ranch is also around 30 miles from the U.S. Experimental Sheep Station Range Reserve and summer grazing pastures in the Centennial Mountains, where other grizzly bears have been killed for preying on sheep.

Idaho Fish & Game spokesman Gregg Losinski, who also works with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, said the cattle depredations had been ongoing, and it appeared that a bear was responsible.

So IFG contacted U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services employees who snared and killed the bear, which turned out to be a male approximately 9 years old.

Losinski said the bear was eliminated because it had learned to prey preferentially on livestock.

This is the fourth grizzly bear that Wildlife Services has killed this year because of cattle depredation. Two others were killed in Wyoming, and one was killed in May near Tom Miner Creek north of Gardiner, according to data gathered by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.

Ten grizzly bear deaths have been recorded this year, with three being natural and four human-caused that are under investigation.

But that’s fewer deaths by this time of year than in 2013. By August of that year, 14 bears had died, eight of which were killed for preying on livestock.

“We’re happy that fewer bears have been killed due to depredation this year,” Losinski said. “Now we’re getting ready for hunting season, which is another time when bears are killed because of run-ins with hunters.”

In 2013, hunters were responsible for four of the 29 total grizzly bear deaths.

Grizzly bears are still protected by the Endangered Species Act and killing one without authorization is illegal.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

More bears dying in Rockies

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

By Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald August 6, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cderworiz@calgaryherald.com

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

 

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/calgary/More+bears+dying+Rockies

Comment: Grizzly bears more useful alive than dead

Grizzly photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Grizzly photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Chris Genovali / Times Colonist
July 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

Paul Paquet, senior scientist at Raincoast Conservation Foundation, large carnivore expert and co-author of a 2013 published peer-reviewed paper on B.C. bear management, states: “We analyzed only some of the uncertainty associated with grizzly management and found it was likely contributing to widespread overkills. I’m not sure how the government defines sound science, but an approach that carelessly leads to widespread overkills is less than scientifically credible.”

The ethical argument is clear — gratuitous killing for recreation is unacceptable and immoral. Polling shows that nine out of 10 British Columbians agree, from rural residents (including many hunters) to city dwellers.

In their 2009 publication The Ethics of Hunting, Michael Nelson and Kelly Millenbah state that if wildlife managers began “to take philosophy and ethics more seriously, both as a realm of expertise that can be acquired and as a critical dimension of wildlife conservation, many elements of wildlife conservation and management would look different.”

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

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

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

Notably, the CREST Stanford study suggests the revenue generated by fees and licences affiliated with the trophy killing of grizzlies fails to cover the cost of the province’s management of the hunt. As a result, B.C. taxpayers, most of whom oppose the hunt according to poll after poll, are in essence being forced to subsidize the trophy killing of grizzlies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Genovali is executive director of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

– See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-grizzly-bears-more-useful-alive-than-dead-1.1209390#sthash.o2fie8k1.dpuf