The media frenzy that usually accompanies the April 1st opening of the spring bear hunt season has come in full gear, and the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) say they are disappointed that anti-hunting activists are evading science, the mortar used to build the foundation of sustainable wildlife management in B.C. Anti-hunting activists claimed that grizzly bear populations were declining to the point of extinction in B.C., but science-based population models have proved them wrong.
Rodney Wiebe, BCWF President says, “By simply claiming it is wrong to hunt bears and the hunt should be stopped on moral grounds ignores the fact that bears and other predator populations need to be managed because of other imbalances caused by human activities and gives no consideration for the values of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, which is based on scientific management and sustainable use.”
A 2003 report from an independent panel of the world’s most recognized bear scientists confirmed the province’s grizzly bear management is effective and population estimates are sound. The province has developed systems to monitor bear populations relying on science and data partially obtained through compulsory inspection of hunter harvested bears. This independent review concluded that both hunting and non-consumptive use are acceptable in the management planning process.
Last year’s grizzly bear mortalities increased over the 2010 figure, exactly what was predicted by anyone monitoring bear populations and bear/ human conflict numbers. But the grizzly bear harvest and total mortalities were still well below the management goals of six er cent. In fact, the total mortality, including human conflict and highway/railway collisions, was only 2.4 per cent. Studies have shown that grizzly bears in B.C. can reproduce at a rate of eight per cent per year or more.
Wiebe stated, “The BCWF has worked collaboratively with the David Suzuki Foundation and other NGOs on habitat and environmental issues in the past and looks forward to doing the same to address the greater risks to bear conservation such as resource development and habitat fragmentation. Working from a solid footing built on science rather than emotion will provide better managed wildlife populations across B.C.”
Visit www.bcwf.bc.ca for more information.