VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A new study says the British Columbia government doesn’t know how many grizzly bears remain in the province and is risking their survival by continuing to allow a commercial hunt for the bruins.
The study published today in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE found that about 3,500 bears were killed by humans over a 10-year period from 2001 to 2011.
In that time, the total number of bears killed for hunting, animal control or in automobile collisions exceeded set limits at least once in half of the populations open to hunting in BC.
The study, involving Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, says the province is one of the last remaining strongholds for grizzly bears.
But Kyle Artelle, the lead author of the paper and a member of the Raincoast foundation, says the provincial government does not really know how many grizzly bears there are throughout the province.
Raincoast opposes the hunt and in the past has purchased guide-outfitting licenses in the province to prevent commercial hunting.
“We don’t feel that the province is really putting sufficient time and effort into monitoring or even research so we said enough is enough,” says “Kitasoo-Xai’xais councillor Douglas Neasloss.
“There’s no one out here. I’ve been working in the field for the last 15 years working with bears and I’ve never come across a government biologist out here doing research on bears.”
He says playing a guessing game with the population isn’t safe.
“Right now people from all over the world can come in and pay for permits to come and shoot bears. And on average 300 bears for the trophy hunt are taken out every year.”