A B.C. conservation group is raising the alarm about the state of the province’s grizzly bear population.
A new report commissioned by the Grizzly Bear Foundation says low food sources and loss of habitat are threatening the estimated 15,000 bears living in the province.
Stuart McLaughlin, one of the three members of the board who penned the report says conservationists are pitching 19 recommendations to the provincial government, chief among them: abolishing trophy hunting.
The provincial government maintains the industry is sustainable.
“We do understand that the province’s position is based on science, we think the science is not definitive. We think there is room for different views. But we also understand that grizzlies are under threat, and that is irrefutable. And the one thing that we can do as a human species that is rational is to do anything we can to improve their survivability and that’s just simply to terminate the hunt.”
The report says about 300 bears are killed a year from trophy hunting.
The 88-page Board of Inquiry report is the culmination of the charity group’s first year of work, aimed squarely at preserving stocks of the bears in the wild.
“This is the first opportunity, we have shared our report with the province and we expect that they will review it and consider it. We hope we will have an influence on policy going forward. We want to be cooperative with the provincial government in trying to get to the result that we are recommending.”
Other recommendations include education on the importance of grizzlies along with ways to reduce conflict with them, building partnerships with First Nations and forestry companies for conservation, improving research efforts into grizzly populations, and regulating the bear watching industry.