Saturday, 9 November 2013

The future of grizzly bears is at risk says report

Management by British Columbia's government gambles future of grizzly bears

November 2013: Trophy hunting is putting British Columbia’s population of grizzly bears at risk scientists from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University have found. For despite supposedly strict regulations the report shows trophy hunters regularly kill more bears than allowed under the province’s own management policy, and passes doubt on the BC government’s claim that 'sound science' is used to manage the trophy hunting. 

The scientists used government data on hunts from 2001-2011 and found out of an estimated population of 15,000 bears, over 3500 bears (including over 1200 females) were killed, including over 2800 bears (over 900 females) by legally-sanctioned trophy hunting. Disturbingly, these overkills were particularly common for females, the reproductive powerhouses of the species.

Kyle Artelle, Raincoast biologist, SFU PhD student, and lead author says “These overkills are a serious concern because the biology of grizzly bears makes them highly vulnerable to excessive mortality. They have great difficulty recovering from population declines.” 

BC represents one of the last strongholds for North American grizzly bears, which have lost about half their continental range since European colonization. Even in BC about one third of populations have either gone extinct, are currently threatened, or are closed to hunting, often for conservation concerns.

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