Grizzly bears being killed in B.C. parks, protected areas: review
Friday, February 26 2010 @ 11:32 AM EST
Contributed by: jkr
VANCOUVER — British Columbia's parks and protected areas are graveyards for grizzly bears being shot by trophy hunters, the David Suzuki Foundation said Thursday after analyzing wildlife mortality records obtained from the provincial government.
Faisal Moola, the foundation's director of terrestrial conservation and science, said the finding is based on a review of 10,811 grizzlies killed in B.C. by humans from 1977 to 2009.
Of those, almost 90 per cent were legally killed by trophy hunters, many of them Americans with guide-outfitters, and the rest by various means, including road- and rail-kills, poaching, trapping and shooting the bears for posing a threat or nuisance.
Not just grizzlies, but a wide range of big-game animals are legally hunted in B.C.'s larger wilderness parks.
The records, which show the location of kills to within a one-kilometre square grid, were released to environmental groups after a request was made to B.C.'s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
When the foundation overlaid the kill sites against a map of provincial park boundaries it discovered that at least 547 grizzlies (a figure that does not include 2009 kills) were shot in 60 provincial parks, wildlife management areas, ecological reserves and conservancies.
Northern Rocky Mountains Provincial Park topped the list at 98 grizzly kills, followed by Spatsizi Plateau at 73, Purcell Wilderness at 53, and Tatshenshini-Alsek at 45.
"Most people think of these parks as big wildlife conservation areas," Moola said. "They are envisioned as places where plants and animals are safe from human activity. What our research shows is that this perception is absolutely untrue."
B.C. has taken steps to protect the grizzly habitat in some areas, including by banning certain resource-extraction activities in the Flathead Valley in southeastern B.C., said Moola, a scientist and adjunct professor at the University of Toronto.
But these measures are nearly useless without laws that prevent the bears themselves from being shot and killed, he argued.