We should be suspicious of grizzly bear numbers

By Chris Genovali, Executive Director Raincoast Conservation

Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Re: Bear attack prompts conservation officers to issue vigilance warning, May 8

In the article a spokesman for the provincial Ministry of the Environment claims that there are 17,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia. There is no credible basis for this assertion; compounding matters is that the province uses inflated grizzly population estimates to establish kill quotas for the grizzly hunt.

From 1972 to 1979, the province estimated a population of 6,660 grizzlies. The population estimate of 6,660 was nearly doubled in 1990 to 13,160, using a questionable “habitat suitability” model. In 1995, the province “adjusted” the estimate to a range of 10,000 to 13,000. The province has arbitrarily upped its population estimate once again, claiming there are now 17,000 grizzlies.

None of the population estimates crafted by the province has been vetted by the hallmarks of scientific process, such as peer-reviewed publication. As one of Canada’s leading carnivore biologists, Dr. Brian Horejsi, has said, there are more than enough reasons to be suspicious about the B.C. government’s grizzly bear numbers.

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