Grizzly bear caught in a wolf trap, freed unharmed near Invermere, October 2016. (B.C. Conservation Officer Service)

Habitat loss greatest threat to B.C. grizzly bears

B.C. NDP government focused on grizzly trophy hunt

Degradation of habitat from forestry, oil and gas development and human settlement is the greatest risk to B.C.’s grizzly bear population, Auditor-General Carole Bellringer says.

While Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has concentrated on ending the grizzly bear trophy hunt and enacting new regulations to enforce it, a new audit of the ministry’s management of the bear population has uncovered more serious problems. Donaldson has announced that the B.C. government will put an end to trophy hunting of grizzlies after this fall’s hunting season.

The forests ministry estimates that about 250 of B.C.’s 15,000 grizzly bears are taken by hunters each year, in a limited-entry lottery hunt open to resident and non-resident hunters. The audit found that from 2006 to 2015, there were 389 bears killed as a result of human-bear conflicts, not related to hunting.

The conflicts are a result of increasing calls about grizzlies to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. The service revised its procedures to evaluate conflict and not automatically assume the bear should be destroyed, for example if it has entered someone’s yard to eat fruit left on trees.

“An increase in resource roads – 600,000 kms existing and more added every year – also leads to more human-bear conflict, and ultimately grizzly bear deaths,” Bellringer said.

The audit found that grizzly bear populations are increasing in some areas of the province, with the trophy hunt each year adjusted for regional populations. Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie and a long-time hunter and trapper, said in a letter to Black Press that grizzly numbers are reaching problem levels in some places.

RELATED: Grizzly bear hunt to end Nov. 30

“Fewer people are hunting bears today than in years gone by, leading to increasing populations,” Morris said. “Bears have a devastating effect on ungulate populations and I think have contributed to the drastic decrease in moose, caribou and deer populations. Hunting is an effective wildlife management tool.”

The province is continuing a public consultation on grizzly hunt regulations until Nov. 2.

VIDEO: Auditor’s findings summarized

Just Posted

Recycling subsidy means tax break for RDCK residents

Province steps in to fund newsprint recycling

Nelson searches for answers to fentanyl crisis

A packed event Wednesday featured seven speakers and plenty of questions

Police ask city for $100K budget increase

The extra money is needed to cover salary costs

Nelson firefighter wage negotiations in year six

Firefighting is an essential service, so strikes are illegal

EcoSociety asks city to become 100 per cent renewable

The plan would have Nelson ditch fossil fuels by 2050

Nelson homes found without working smoke alarms

Fire chief Len MacCharles says his members found 21 homes in need of alarms

COLUMN: Let’s keep your money circulating in the region

Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson on buying locally

Doug Bothamley Cash Spiel returns this weekend

The annual tournament runs Friday to Sunday at the Nelson Curling Centre

COLUMN: Taking another look at Kelowna

Columnist Donna Macdonald finds many things to love about the city Nelsonites love to hate

Earthquake gently rocks Nelson to sleep

Did you feel the earthquake? (Probably not)

RDCK holds open house on proposed boat launch

RDCK hosted an open house at Blewett Elementary to discuss plans for a boat launch at Taghum Beach

LVR Bombers volleyball team off to provincials

The senior girls’ squad secured a spot with a win over Trail last week

Dead rats on doorstep greets Summerland mayor

Two rodents have been delivered to Peter Waterman’s doorstep

Most Read