John Colebourn, The Province
Published: Thursday, April 17, 2008
A record number of grizzly bears was killed in B.C. last year, prompting environmental groups to call for a moratorium on hunting the animals. Statistics obtained by the Raincoast Conservation Society show 430 grizzlies were killed in B.C. in 2007.
In 2006, 299 bears were killed, while 2005 saw 323 killed and 2004 had a grizzly kill of 339. Chris Genovali, Raincoast’s executive director, said a government figure indicating 17,000 grizzlies roam the province is wrong.
“We don’t feel that figure is accurate,” he said. “That’s the concern, that they are setting kill quotas based on figures we don’t feel are accurate.” Genovali said the government should establish no-hunting areas especially along the central and north coast of the province.
“We’d like to see the government follow through with no-hunt zones,” he said. “In terms of the grizzly hunt, we’d like to see a moratorium until a better assessment is done on how the grizzly population is doing.” Most of the grizzlies shot in 2007 were by hunters. About 88 per cent of the kill was through hunting, with animal control and poaching accounting for the remaining deaths.
Since 1975, about 11,000 grizzlies have been killed. Hunting outfitters maintain the grizzly population is thriving. Environment Minister Barry Penner recently said he felt the grizzly population is healthy and the bear kill is well-managed.