Grizzly hunt fails test of science, experts say

Government misrepresents the research used to justify its decisions

Provincial management of the annual trophy hunt that has yielded a 500-per-cent increase in the number of grizzlies killed since the Liberals ended a moratorium in 2001 fails the most basic scientific standards, says a letter from four B.C. scientists to the international journal Science.

In 2001, about 50 bears were killed. By 2007, the annual kill was more than 350. The government claims killing up to six per cent of grizzlies a year is sustainable based on its estimate of 15,000 bears. But the scientists say such uncertainty surrounds grizzly numbers and they could be as low as 8,000. And even based on the higher population, grizzly kills routinely exceed sustainable mortality.

Ten First Nations worried by numbers banned grizzly trophy hunting in traditional territories in 2012, although they can’t enforce a moratorium. Surveys show almost 90 per cent of the province’s citizens want the hunt stopped. Yet this year government increased grizzly tags issued through its trophy lottery.

“It is alarming that purported scientific management often proceeds without the hallmarks of science — transparency, intelligibility, and rigorous evidence,” write Kyle Artelle, John Reynolds, Paul Paquet and Chris Darimont. The scientists are from Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and Raincoast Conservation Foundation…

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