Every once in a while my friend Les Watmough makes a great observation. In respect to the recent grizzly bear cubs being killed by the conservation service is a tragedy on so many levels.
Les is absolutely right in regard to grizzly bear assessments the Crown has once again failed to address the rules and regulations established in the Kalum LRMP document (Land and Resource Management Plan) which was passed as legislation and effectively became law. There was an agreement on conducting watershed type assessments on the Kitimat, Kildala, Dala, Kemano, watersheds to verify the integrity of the eco-systems.
There are very few wild salmon left on almost all watersheds and the other resources are inextricably linked to the health of the eco-systems. Grizzly bears are an integral value and we agreed that the current status quo did not work.
Under the current status quo the Ministry assesses the area and estimates that the area can sustain ‘x’ number of grizzlies. Therefore there must be ‘x’ number in that area. As the executive director of the Na na kila Institute at the time, I advocated conducting real on the ground assessments on grizzly habitat and number using remote photography and DNA sampling. The Na na kila Institute hired re-known Grizzly scientist Dr. Craighead to undertake the first level of grizzly bear studies in the Kawesas. Regrettably the Crown did not participate in that study and chose to keep their head in the sand.
The recent tragedy should have been managed by the conservations officers showing some pro-active approaches and managing the people who parked at the side of the road and coaxed the young grizzlies by their presence and food. The imprinting is the fault of the people and it is they that should have been charged. Instead the CO’s took the easy way out and killed the very ones they should be protecting from stupidity!
Haisla Nation Member