Wildlife


The recent decision by the B.C. government to ban the regulated grizzly hunt to all but Indigenous hunters is a prime example of populism.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines “populism” as: Political ideas and activities that are intended to get the support of ordinary people by giving them what they want.

The ideas are often put forward in the absence of science or analysis of the long-term policy implications.

The threshold for populism is often driven by “popular support” for an idea, not because it is rational, stable or in the best interests of the resource, but because it is politically popular and in the short term will garner political support.

The issue is: Do you want your government to make the popular decision, or the rational decision? The former is driven by the public opinion, the latter by rigorous analysis of the consequences in terms of what is in the best interests of the resource and the populace.

In B.C., 78 per cent of the public, according to the government, is against the hunting of grizzly bears. But a rigorous analysis was conducted by the B.C. Auditor General and the conclusion was that hunting was not seen as a threat to grizzly bear sustainability and was considered a minor factor within the issue of larger habitat management. You can find the 74-page report, An Independent Audit of Grizzly Bear Management, at www.bcauditor.com.

The B.C. government originally made the popular decision that trophy hunting was bad, but stated that hunting for substance was permissible, including for food, social and ceremonial purposes by First Nations. The regulations to manage the trophy hunting through non-retention of bear parts were put to public consultation by the Ministry of Forest Lands Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. From an administrative, technical, compliance and enforcement perspective, government concluded these regulations were unworkable. This was the message received both from inside and outside the government. It really didn’t matter where you sat on the debate; government tried to cut the bear in half, to nobody’s satisfaction.

Prior to a final decision on grizzly bear hunting, government was left with two choices, leave the status quo, or ban all licenced hunting of grizzly bears. Personally, I would not hunt grizzly bears. But if the hunt was sustainable, I would not impose my personal values on others to prevent them from hunting.

Populism won the day and now there is no hunt. First Nations can continue to hunt if they choose. In my view, the larger issue is this constitutionally protected right will be hollow when their fish and wildlife populations are gone. The right to gain economically from commercial uses of natural resources under the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples is also in question. First Nations have strong voices and can speak for themselves on how, where and why they want to engage in the grizzly bear debate.

The bottom line is the NDP government and the Green party have chosen a populist view not based on science that does not bode well for future resource management policy decisions.

Alan Martin is director of strategic initiatives at the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

Here are the slides from Jim Glaicar’s, President of the BCWF, presentation at our Town Hall Meeting on April 26, 2017.

In preparation for the upcoming provincial general election on May 9, 2017, the BC Wildlife Federation is asking major provincial political parties and individual candidates to answer 5 questions about issues facing fish, wildlife and their habitats.

North Peace Candidate’s Responses

Vote Image May 9

The BC Wildlife Federation and the North Peace Rod and Gun Club will be hosting a town hall meeting at 7 PM on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at the Fort St. John Curling Rink.

If you are concerned about the future of fish and wildlife populations, and future generation’s ability to hunt, fish, camp, and recreate in British Columbia, you need to attend this meeting. Jim Glaicar, President of the BCWF will provide a provincial perspective, and we will also:

  • Discuss local wildlife and habitat management issues
  • Provide an update on First Nations land agreements
  • Introduce the local candidates for the North Peace riding for the upcoming May 9, 2017 provincial election

Town Hall Fort St. John Poster

BC Fish & Wildlife recently had some films made up that explain some of their methods and share the results of some recent surveys.

Peace Moose Survey

What is done with survey data.

Hart Ranges Caribou Survey

Alsek Moose Survey

North Skeena Caribou Survey

 

 

 

We’re back!

Hello again everyone and welcome to the first email of the 2017 BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program!

We are excited to be going again and looking forward to seeing results from the 2017 season. Last year proved to be another great year for survey participation and we received just over 500 submissions. This year were looking to do even better.

PLEASE NOTE:  After reviewing feedback from last year’s survey, we have added another “Body Condition” variable. So please be sure to use the newest survey.

For those of you who are new to the program, I have included information below that outlines what this program is all about:

The BC Wildlife Health Program is looking for help from wildlife professionals and the public with observations of hair loss caused by “Winter Ticks” on moose throughout the province.  The Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program wants to collect observations to monitor the number of animals with hair loss and the amount of hair loss on each animal to estimate winter tick prevalence and distribution.  This program will occur on an annual basis.  Winter ticks are a significant parasite for moose populations and can contribute to moose declines in parts of their range, including BC.  So, it is an important health factor to monitor, particularly with climate change and alterations to moose habitat.  The findings of the surveillance program will contribute to the Provincial Moose Research Program, which was initiated in 2013 to investigate factors influencing moose populations in BC.

Winter tick infestations can be observed on moose during February through April.  The ticks spend the entire winter on one moose and there can be as many as 10s of thousands on one individual.  As the female ticks become adults they feed on blood in late winter and the irritation causes moose to scratch and groom themselves excessively, resulting in hair loss.  The extent of the hair loss is a rough indicator of how many ticks are present and can be observed easily from a distance.  We know that tick infestations can result in behavioral changes or direct health impacts that may reduce moose survival.

I hope that you may be interested in contributing to this surveillance program by recording your observations of both healthy and infected moose during the winter and spring. (more…)

2017 Public Wildlife Count Mule Deer Fawn

Who: Anyone with an interest in wildlife in the Peace Region (hunters, First Nations, agricultural producers, naturalists, local families) 

Where: In areas around Fort St. John, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge and Hudson’s Hope 

When: Any part of the day on February 4th or 5th 2017 (Please choose one day only.) 

Why: To collect data on trends in population size and location of deer, elk and moose. The information will be used to help inform management decisions. Prizes for participation. 

For more information, contact Katelyn White at the Natural Resource Operations office in Fort St. John (250) 787-3496 or Katelyn.White@gov.bc.ca 

More Information Public Wildlife Count 2017 

Grizzly Bear Photo

The authors of the Scientific Review of Grizzly Bear Harvest Management System in B.C. found that the Province has a high level of rigour and adequate safeguards in place to ensure the long-term stability of grizzly populations. The report was prepared by a panel of three respected wildlife biologists, one two from the University of Alberta and one from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, all leaders in the field of grizzly bear research and conservation.

The report includes 51 recommendations aimed at enhancing habitat protection, population inventory, access and harvest management, and increasing public consultation. Wildlife staff are updating the grizzly bear harvest management procedure to address some of the recommendations, while others require additional analysis.

Read the full report at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/management-issues/docs/grizzly-bear-harvest-management-2016.pdf

 

The Gorley report has been released after Mr. Al Gorley travelled the Province talking to stakeholders and First Nations. The BC Wildlife Federation was highly involved in the process. The Province is acting on all 21 recommendations in the report. Some of the immediate actions taken include:

  • Reducing the number of limited-entry hunts for moose cows and calves from 1,792 in 2011 to 200 in 2016.
  • Preparing moose management plans for the Peace, Omineca and Cariboo regions.
  • Using existing tools to increase habitat protection.
  • Expanding moose survey work planned for this winter to include calf mortality.

Read More

BC Moose Tracker App Logo

B.C. Moose Tracker is an official Government of British Columbia app that allows hunters to play an important part in moose conservation and management.

The app, available through iTunes, lets users upload information on the number, sex and location of moose they encounter in the wild directly to a province-wide database. The collected data helps monitor moose populations and alert wildlife staff to emerging issues.

The app supports the government’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the provincial moose management strategy through the modernization of licensing, inventory and research methods.

As an added bonus, the app includes a digital version of 2016-2018 Hunting & Trapping Regulations Synopsis.  It’s an indispensable, searchable summary of hunting seasons and regulations throughout B.C. – including interactive maps.

The Province developed B.C. Moose Tracker in consultation with the B.C. Wildlife Federation and with the financial support of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch , iOS 7.0 or later.

Download the app from iTunes

(more…)

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