The long-term survival of grizzly bears in British Columbia is threatened by a loss of habitat and food sources, as well as the government-sanctioned trophy hunt, contends a report by the Grizzly Bear Foundation’s Board of Inquiry, which was released last week.
In the report, the board of inquiry laid out 19 recommendations for what grizzly bears need in both the short and long-term to have a safe future.
Members of the Board of Inquiry included Michael Audain, Stuart McLaughlin of West Vancouver and Suzanne Veit of Victoria. The trio launched public hearings in various cities across B.C. in September 2016, including Prince Rupert.
Of the 19 recommendations, some were directed at the Grizzly Bear Foundation, some to the federal government, some to the provincial government and some to local and regional governments.
Grizzly Bear Foundation
• Education: Prepare, publish and distribute material for elementary school children about grizzly bears in B.C.
• Conservation: Facilitate a forum with First Nations to consider potential partnership initiatives to secure the status and future of grizzly bears.
• Launch an outreach program to strengthen knowlege-sharing.
• Research: Conduct a study of potential new grizzly bear viewing opportunities across B.C.
• In collaboration with recreation groups, clubs and commercial operators, undertake a study regarding the impact of access to the backcountry and propose strategies for the protection of sensitive grizzly bear habitat.
• In preparing its implementation plan for the Wild Salmon Policy, the board of inquiry recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans explicitly consider, in its allocation, formula the nutritional needs of grizzly bears.
• Terminate all hunting of grizzly bears in B.C.
• Strengthen provincial wildlife enforcement capability and increase actions that proactively encourage compliance with wildlife protection laws.
• Institute measures to reduce attractants in public spaces and parks.
• Work to increase the number of communities that are pursuing Bear Smart status.
“The cumulative impacts of habitat loss, insecure food sources, inadequate enforcement of wildlife laws, legal hunting, and the as-yet uncertain impacts of climate change combine to present major challenges to the survival of the grizzly bears. Strong action is needed now to secure their future. How we achieve this will be judged by the world,” Veit said in a press release.