NEWS RELEASE – December 29, 2016
I have prepared this report out of concern for grizzly bears in B.C. With a public opinion poll showing that over 90% of British Columbians oppose the hunting of grizzly bears, the government of British Columbia has hard decisions to make about grizzly bear management in the future.
An epic failure.
A report, “Scientific Review of Grizzly Bear Harvest Management System in British Columbia” was commissioned by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, and made available to the public earlier this year (2016). The authors claimed to review all material related to the current management of the grizzly bear harvest and alleged that the government’s systems had a “high level of rigor with a solid scientific underpinning.”
But the report itself found many major flaws with the grizzly management system. I reviewed the report in greater detail and I found critical issues with the language used and the conclusions made. I suspected that the report could potentially mislead public opinion, or most concerning, the independent investigation by the B.C. Auditor General which was already underway.
Nature’s fallen king.
Grizzly bears are vital components of our ecosystems, and could arguably be considered Canada’s “king” of the wild. However, I contend that, following years of mismanagement and a flawed report that could potentially push them toward extirpation, it is time to stand in defence of this majestic animal. This critique of the government’s report highlights some of the significant failings that should be considered by the Auditor General prior to concluding their investigation. Notably, our critique found:
1. Contrary to report conclusions, the government has not displayed a high level of scientific rigor in the management of B.C. grizzly bears.
2. The language used within the report is specific to the conservation and sustainability of the killing of grizzly bears not the conservation and sustainability of the animal itself.
3. Current management practices pertaining to kill data collection (eg. the sex of the bear killed) are potentially significantly flawed and posing a direct risk to the conservation of the species.
A species of special concern.
There will always be moral arguments for or against a grizzly bear trophy hunt, but our government has an obligation to make science-based decisions on wildlife management. And, based on the information included within (and notably left out of) their own report, they must immediately act to protect our grizzly bears from themselves and bad data. The grizzly bear in B.C. is a recognized species of special concern. The critique that follows is an abridged version of a much larger piece of work. I believe we need to begin moving our public conversations back towards the true conservation of the B.C. grizzly bear verses the various competing economic interests the animal provides. I look forward, with great anticipation, to the public debate and conversation that I hope is soon to follow.
To read the full critique, please click: In Defence of a Fallen King: A critique of the BC grizzly bear scientific review.
We fully support BC NDP leader John Horgan in his efforts to end the trophy hunt.
Casavant, B (2016) In defence of fallen king: A critique of the BC grizzly bear scientific review. Retrieved from: http://www.brycecasavant.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016-12-27-AG-Report-In-Defence-of-a-Fallen-King1.pdf
Boyce, M; Mark S. Derocher, A; Garshelis, D (2016) Scientific Review of Grizzly Bear Harvest Management System in British Columbia. Retrieved from: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/management-issues/docs/grizzly-bear-harvest-management-2016.pdf
Insights West (2016) Public Opinion Poll. Retrieved from: http://www.insightswest.com/news/grizzly-trophy-hunt-could-swing-voters-in-british-columbia/