Scale of B.C. grizzly bear hunt, population disputed

The Prince Rupert Daily News
Thursday, July 31, 2008

George T. Baker

In a Vancouver Sun article published on Tuesday, it was reported that 430 grizzly bears were killed in the province last year. But the Environment Minister Barry Penner shot back that the number was not accurately portrayed by the coalition of scientists, conservationists and animal activists who had petitioned B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and called on the Ministry of Environment to completely ban the grizzly hunt province-wide.

Yesterday that coalition shot back: “Minister Penner is aware of the real (grizzly bear) numbers and for him to feign that we were saying that last year’s record number of killed grizzly bears was 100 per cent trophy hunting is a bit of a red herring,” said Chris Genovali, executive director of the Raincoast Society and spokesman for the coalition.

In an interview with the Daily News, Genovali said that only 84 per cent of grizzlies killed in the province were shot by trophy hunters, but he insisted that should bring little comfort to British Columbians.

“There are no firm numbers of how many grizzlies are actually alive in B.C.,” said Genovali.

The suggested number of grizzly bears in B.C. right now is 17,000, which is up by 11,000 on when the first provincially recorded number of grizzly bears was noted in 1972. However, Genovali disregards that number as nothing more than speculation.

Genovali claimed the size of the grizzly bear population has been a subject of great debate because the figures used by the B.C. government since 1972 have never been peer reviewed by scientists.

Dr. Paul Paquet, a leading wildlife expert from the University of Alberta, was quoted in a Canadian Press article as saying: “Because the numbers are really unknown and not reliable, the effect of the hunt can’t be fully predicted.”

If the coalition gets its way, the grizzly bear population along the North Coast could become totally protected from hunting.

B.C.’s North Coast is home to Canada’s only designated grizzly sanctuary. The Khutzeymateen Valley, just east of Port Simpson, was designated a grizzly bear sanctuary in 1994 by both the province and the Tsimshian Nation.

The valley covers 45,000 hectares of uninterrupted space for the bear. According to the Ministry of Environment, the grizzly bear is listed as an at-risk species, though that has not motivated the province to shut down the grizzly hunting industry.ly bears were killed in the province last year. But the Environment
Minister Barry Penner shot back that the number was not accurately portrayed by the coalition of scientists, conservationists and animal activists who had petitioned B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and called on the Ministry of Environment to completely ban the grizzly hunt province-wide.

Yesterday that coalition shot back: “Minister Penner is aware of the real (grizzly bear) numbers and for him to feign that we were saying that last year’s record number of killed grizzly bears was 100 per cent trophy hunting is a bit of a red herring,” said Chris Genovali, executive director of the Raincoast Society and spokesman for the coalition.

In an interview with the Daily News, Genovali said that only 84 per cent of grizzlies killed in the province were shot by trophy hunters, but he insisted that should bring little comfort to British Columbians.

“There are no firm numbers of how many grizzlies are actually alive in B.C.,” said Genovali.

The suggested number of grizzly bears in B.C. right now is 17,000, which is up by 11,000 on when the first provincially recorded number of grizzly bears was noted in 1972. However, Genovali disregards that number as nothing more than speculation.

Genovali claimed the size of the grizzly bear population has been a subject of great debate because the figures used by the B.C. government since 1972 have never been peer reviewed by scientists.

Dr Paul Paquet, a leading wildlife expert from the University of Alberta, was quoted in a Canadian Press article as saying: “Because the numbers are really unknown and not reliable, the effect of the hunt can’t be fully predicted.”

If the coalition gets its way, the grizzly bear population along the North Coast could become totally protected from hunting. B.C.’s North Coast is home to Canada’s only designated grizzly sanctuary.
The Khutzeymateen Valley, just east of Port Simpson, was designated a grizzly bear sanctuary in 1994 by both the province and the Tsimshian Nation.

The valley covers 45,000 hectares of uninterrupted space for the bear. According to the Ministry of Environment, the grizzly bear is listed as an at-risk species, though that has not motivated the province to shut down the grizzly hunting industry.

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