by Chris Genovali
Rocky Mountain Outlook
September 16, 2009
Re: Is there a need for a bear hunt? (RMO, Sept. 3)
It’s mystifying that the province is actually considering lifting the ban on the trophy hunt given the paucity of grizzlies in Alberta.The atavistic Alberta Fish and Game Association (AFGA) refuses to accept the findings of government DNA population research that suggests Alberta has less than 500 grizzlies remaining. Their rationale? AFGA members believe they are “seeing” more bears in the bush.
Personal anecdotes and subjective opinion do not constitute scientific evidence, no matter how obstinately presented. And “faith-based” wildlife management policies will not serve Alberta’s threatened grizzly bear well.
But attempting to reason with AFGA grizzly hunting advocates appears akin to trying to convince the “Birther movement” in the U.S. that President Barack Obama is an American citizen.
What does it say about us, as the human species, that we continue to be unable to peacefully co-exist with this powerful animal that some biologists believe is intelligent enough to be ranked with primates? Why can’t we find a way to accommodate both our needs and those of the grizzly bear?
The reality is that you can kill bears quickly via trophy hunting or kill them slowly by denying them their life requisites through destruction of their habitat. In Alberta, virtually nothing has been done to protect grizzly habitat; now the one protective measure (the trophy hunt ban) that has been afforded the dwindling Alberta grizzly population is being put at risk.
Executive Director Raincoast Conservation,