A group of bear-advocates has come up with a method to improve the giant animal’s population after traveling BC this summer.
The Grizzly Bear Foundation (GBF) met with residents, government officials, scientists, ranchers, hunters, conversation organizations, and First Nations communities in Prince George, Cranbrook, Fort Nelson, Vancouver, Prince Rupert, and Victoria. After months of crunching data and brainstorming, the Foundation released its recommendations in a 90-page document today. The Report of the Board of Inquiry is calling for better education, research, and conservation efforts from the GBF and all levels of government.
A number of different factors play a role in the declining grizzly bear population. Trophy hunting is an obvious and immediate way to reverse the decline, says spokesperson Stuart McLaughlin.
“In our opinion, this does not have the support of the majority of the people of British Columbia, so we do ask the Provincial government to move toward its termination.”
Additionally, the GBF is also asking the Province to implement bear viewing regulation and strengthening wildlife enforcement. It’s also asking the federal government to expand grizzly bear and salmon protection programs. These factors will combat some of the major population-affecting issues, which also includes global warming and habitat loss.
Former BC Deputy Minister Suzanne Veit feels we need to act fast.
“The cumulative impacts of all these challenges to the grizzly bears means that we really have to come together, all of us, and make sure they’re around long after we’re long gone,” she says.
Each municipality can take steps to reduce bear attractants in public spaces and parks and boost the number of communities pursuing Bear Smart status.
The remaining recommendations focus on the GBF improving education and conservation efforts. It will introduce material into elementary schools and promote using bear spray and electric fences. It will also create new partnerships with First Nations and major forestry companies and create outreach programs. Lastly, the Foundation will conduct more research into human and natural impacts on the animals.
(Files from Spencer Gowan with MYPRINCEGEORGENOW)