2018 was the first full year grizzly bears were free from hunting in over a century.
Miley Cyrus adds her voice to save grizzly bears in B.C.
Grizzly bears in British Columbia have been hunted for more than 100 years. More than 12,000 grizzly bears have been killed by hunters since the government began keeping records in 1975. The trophy hunt accounted for approximately 87% of known human-caused grizzly bear deaths year to year. Trophy hunters have killed over 12,000 grizzly bears since the government began keeping records in 1975.
Together, we helped create the ban on torphy hunting in B.C. with 78,882 petitions signatures and 7,063 letters across 170 countries.
For more than two decades, Pacific Wild, alongside the leadership of Coastal First Nations and the many non-government organizations, individuals, scientists, businesses, worked to stop the grizzly bear trophy hunt in B.C. In the provincial election of 2017, we helped make the trophy hunt an issue that all three political parties had to address, acknowledging the wishes of 90% of British Columbians who oppose the killing of grizzly bears. With less than 24 hours before the 2017 fall bear hunt opened in parts of B.C., the NDP government announced an end to province-wide grizzly hunting – but it started after the fall hunt ended and another 150 bears were killed. On April 1st, 2018 a full ban on hunting grizzly bears in B.C. came into effect, along with a number of regulatory changes.
This is an incredible conservation achievement for our coast. Grizzly bears have been given a helping hand as they continue to navigate our unpredictable and ever evolving relationship with the natural world.
BEARS ARE VULNERABLE
Bears are vulnerable to population decline and B.C.'s grizzly population has fallen from an estimated 35,000 bears in the early 1900s to as low as 6,000 today. The grizzly bear is the second slowest reproducing land mammal in North America, one that is threatened throughout much of its range. Grizzly bears now only occupy 2% of their former range in the lower 48 states today. Grizzlies have large territories, as much as 4,000 square kilometres for adult males, making them sensitive to logging, roads and railroads, land development and other habitat impacts.
A combination of natural characteristics and outside threats put bears at a high risk of population decline. We are currently living in the Anthropocene Epoch, an age largely dominated by human activity - from mass extinctions of plant and animal species, to polluting the oceans and altering the atmosphere. This extends to mother bears and their cubs; a relationship changed by human hunting as it is illegal to shoot the mother or cubs when they’re together. A recent study in Sweden, Hunting regulation favors slow life histories in a large carnivore, shows that brown bear reproductive strategies have adapted so that the cubs stay with their mother longer, increasing their survival chances by a factor of four. As a result, the females grow older but have fewer offspring.
Approximately 30% of grizzly bears killed for trophy over the years in B.C. have been female. A typical female may give birth to a maximum of ten cubs over her lifetime, half of which usually die within their first year. Surviving cubs usually remain with the mother for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years, during which time the mother will not mate. As they are also the second slowest reproducing land mammal in North America, trophy hunting placed the entire species at a high risk of population decline.