Letter writer Rowena Eloise wants to see more protection for grizzly bears. File photo

LETTER: We need to protect the grizzly bears’ turf

Habitat protection can be improved

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, said the people of B.C. need to have confidence that qualified professionals are acting first and foremost to protect the public interests (Valley Voice Dec. 14).

And B.C Forests Minister, Doug Donaldson, said public consultations have made it clear that killing grizzly bears can not be allowed with the exception of First Nations Treaty Rights (Nelson Star, Dec. 20).

Way back when Oberto Oberti’s Pheidias Development Corp. was first unveiling plans for the Jumbo Glacier Resort, countless qualified professional bear biologists found healthy numbers of grizzly bears, all ages and both sexes, in the greater Jumbo area — quite probably because wild Jumbo abuts the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy (PWC) where all wildlife know they are safe.

During the interim years between then and now various other officially sanctioned grizzly bear counts have occurred throughout the province, as well as Jumbo valley area, again, again and again.

An Oct. 2017 report on the status of B.C. grizzly bears by B.C. Auditor General, Carol Bellringer, found that hunting was not the biggest threat to bears. If your gut feeling is that resource extraction and human settlement are the biggest threats you are absolutely correct.

In addition to people moving into the bears neck-of-the-woods, resulting in homeless bruins, the audit found that from 2006 to 2015, 389 grizzly bears were destroyed as a result of human/bear conflicts.

How the universities of Alberta and Minnesota wildlife biologists got involved in B.C. grizzly bears welfare is hard to say, but recently each gave the B.C. government a passing grade for management of its grizzly bear hunt. But they made strong recommendations for improving habitat protection.

Wrapping up all of the above, we can only conclude that in order to have a perpetually robust grizzly population in B.C., we need to protect the bears’ home turf.

And corporate use of recognized vital habitat by way of planting a resort city (nearly the size of Nelson) while footprinting thousands of hectares with tow towers, lines and tea houses is a form of extracting that natural wild resource and negatively modifying the irreplaceable habitat.

A head’s up for Minister Heyman: Please remember that the thousands of wild hectares of the wild Jumbo area are perpetually breathing in and breathing out, thus moderating climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide and oxygenating our planet.

Lastly, a member of the Ktunaxa Nation said the true mayors of Jumbo are hereditary chiefs (Letters, Columbia Valley Pioneer, Dec. 20). Sounds good to me.

Rowena Eloise (for the West Kootenay Coalition for Jumbo Wild)

Nelson

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