For Immediate Release
Friday February 26, 2010
BC Wildlife Federation
BC Wildlife Federation Issues Warning To Public About Grizzly Bears
Vancouver, BC – Mel Arnold, President of BC Wildlife Federation which represents 37,000 hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists, stated “The public must be made aware that recent media releases and paid advertisements are misleading the public about grizzly bears and how well they are managed in British Columbia”.
Grizzly bear populations are not at risk as described by these recent deceptive media releases and advertisements; their sustainability is not threatened by hunting. An independent international team of scientists reviewed bear management in BC and made recommendations to the province’s Grizzly Bear Management Strategy in 2002. These recommendations include recognition that both hunting and non-consumptive use are acceptable management objectives. Sustainable harvest rates for grizzly bears can be as high as nine per cent; BC manages more conservatively at a maximum of six per cent for total human-caused mortality, with an actual hunter harvest rate of approximately two per cent.
British Columbia has reliable management programs in place for Grizzly Bears. They are a valued, hunted species, not treated like pests as they have been in other jurisdictions. More money has been spent on Grizzly Bear DNA research in BC than on any other species. This scientifically sound research is being ignored by organizations that once used science to back their case. They are now resorting to using myths to bolster their fundraising campaigns. This fundraising rarely if ever goes toward “on the ground” habitat protection or restoration. Hunters and anglers on the other hand have directly contributed over $3 Million to projects related to the Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy. Over $1 Million has gone directly to support state-of-the-art DNA mark-recapture inventory projects, providing data to derive reliable population information.
The question needs to be asked why a formerly reputable organization would quote an ecologist based in California when British Columbia and Canada have the best government and independent professional biologists in the world, some with more than 30 years experience in bear research and management.
The BC Ministry of Environment manages wildlife based on science. In July 2001 a moratorium on Grizzly Bear hunting was overturned. Later that year an independent international review panel studied the province’s Grizzly Bear management programs. The composition of this panel was based on recommendations from the International Association for Bear Research and Management.
While hunting is allowed in most Provincial Parks, National Parks where hunting is not allowed, have some of the highest human caused mortality rates for Grizzly Bears. Many of these bears become habituated and aggressive toward humans and are not hunted but must be destroyed for public safety; others are killed in vehicle collisions.
Hunters have historically shown they are willing to contribute to and support management programs based on science and sustainability. Hunting is much more than a traditional pastime. It contributes more than $350 Million per year in revenue for the province, is continuously renewable and sustainable and creates jobs province-wide providing employment in areas struggling through tough economic times. Contrary to insinuations made by others, hunters govern their own activities based on the highest of ethics and respect for the wildlife they harvest.
It is of grave concern when international groups try to inappropriately influence wildlife management in BC. In our beautiful province we have the most intact and healthy biodiversity in the world. This is achieved through scientific management and with the support of BC residents and long term conservation organizations such as the BC Wildlife Federation.
For further information, please contact Patti MacAhonic, Executive Director of BCWF at 604-291-9990 extension 230 or 604-308-1914. Click here to e-mail.
BCWF is a province-wide voluntary conservation organization representing over 37,000 British Columbian members whose aims are to protect, enhance and promote the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
BC Wildlife Federation was incorporated under the BC Societies Act in 1951 and it became a registered charity in 1969. The Federation is British Columbia’s largest and oldest conservation organization.