GRIZZLY BEARS: A SPECIES AT RISK
During our Board of Inquiry process, our research and submissions indicated that there are three primary categories under which threats to grizzly bears' health and welfare fall.
There are numerous complicated challenges involved in ensuring that grizzlies have access to the large territories that permit them to thrive. There are many competing land use priorities that threaten the long term survival of our grizzly bears.
Habitat issues include fragmentation, human infringement on grizzly bear landscapes, lack of secure territory and access corridors, and challenges around food sourcing, including those relating to climate change impacts.
Human caused death is the greatest source of mortality for grizzlies, and is one of the chief factors limiting grizzly bear populations. Today grizzly bears inhabit only half of their historical range, and are being increasingly displaced by human settlement. With threats including increased urbanization associated with human population expansion, surging backcountry recreational pursuits, resource development, and hunting in some areas, it is obvious that there is much work to be done to ensure the long term wellbeing of this iconic species.
We believe that coexistence with grizzly bears is possible, and as an organization we work with communities, governments, and industry to achieve this.
DID YOU KNOW?
Over 60% of grizzly bears mortalities are due to human causes (roads, human bear conflict, hunting, etc).
Provincial/territorial, state, and First Nation governments are tasked with the responsibility for putting into place the necessary regulatory and management framework for the protection of grizzly bear populations. Grizzly bears do not recognize land borders like we do, making cross-jurisdictional wildlife management challenging - what one government does to protect the species can be easily undone should a grizzly walk into new territory.
Over the past 35 years, some important initiatives have been undertaken by governments to protect grizzlies, including land set aside for sanctuaries, endangered species legislation, hunting bans, and more. In 1984 the Province of British Columbia established a large no-hunting zone on BC’s north coast, which was expanded in 1994 to become the Khutzeymateen/K’tzim-a-deen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. The Province of Alberta terminated the grizzly bear hunt in 2006, and the Province of British Columbia followed suit in 2017. In the US, the Department of the Interior listed grizzly bears in the lower 48 states as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1975. In the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem this brought the population from 300 to 714 bears at last count in 2015, but the Greater Yellowstone listing has since been rescinded by the Trump administration.
The North American approach to managing wildlife prioritizes economic opportunity over environmental responsibility. This is concerning: we view healthy, thriving ecosystems as the fundament of a sustainable economy, and grizzly bears are keystone species in those ecosystems.
The GBF Report of the Board of Inquiry in particular identifies weaknesses in the current British Columbian provincial wildlife management system. The combined impact of weaknesses in this system represent a serious threat to the province's ability to protect grizzly bears.
You can read more about our research and analysis on these issues, and our work to improve the welfare of BC's grizzly bears in our BOARD OF INQUIRY REPORT.READ REPORT