Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1996-04-12 Anti-Hunting Emergence

April 12, 1996, Fri.
Sing Tao Daily News
(translated from Chinese)

Government expands protected Grizzly Bear habitat and raises poaching penalty

The BC Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks Moe Sihota announced yesterday at the Vancouver Aquarium that 103 hectares of prime Grizzly bear habitat has been added to the Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola, towards greater protection of the Grizzly bear.

Sihota announces also that the maximum penalties for Grizzly poaching or trafficking in Grizzly parts has been raised from $10,000 to $25,000 and/or 6 months in prison.

The “problem bears” were also addressed. The minister suggested raising walls or fences around garbage dumps, establishing new garbage management bylaws and strengthening public education so as to alleviate human-bear conflict.

The BC government will also establish a $30,000 fund for bear research, and participate in the Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy Stakeholders’ Meeting at Richmond Inn.

As of this fall, Grizzly hunting will be restricted. The open season will be closed and hunting permits will be by lottery only. Grizzly hunting will be completely banned in the Okanagans and the Southern Selkirks.

Sihota says that the BC government is committed to protect the Grizzly bear, to prevent it from becoming another endangered species.

But wildlife protection activist and Western Canada Wilderness Committee campaigner Anthony Marr says, “The new 103 hectare of Grizzly habitat protected is a postage stamp compared to the amount of known Grizzly habitat clear-cut-logged every year, where no Grizzly bear inventories have never been done.”

He further says, “The new penalty is still too lenient to be effective, when the profits in bear gall trafficking are in the million dollar range.”

“The government voluntarily curtailing Grizzly hunting, while laudable, is in itself an acknowledgment that BC’s Grizzly bears is under siege,” he adds.

He points out that BC’s Grizzly bear population is loosely estimated to be as low as 4,000 by some independent biologists, and as high as 13,000 by the BC government. Over the last ten years, an average of about 320 Grizzlies were legally hunted per year, plus about 50-80 killed by conservation officers, and an unknown number were poached, estimated by international experts to be at least a similar number as those legally killed. “The Grizzly bear, being the slowest reproducing large mammal in North America, simply cannot sustain this kind of onslaught. Of the 8 species of bears in the world today, five have already been hunted to the brink of extinction, including the Asiatic Black bear that used to be the main source of gall bladders. If this trend continues, the Grizzly bear will be next, and this trend is most definitely continuing,” says Marr.

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