A new 74-page report by the B.C. Auditor General says the provincial environment ministries have not fulfilled commitments to grizzly bear management.
In response, the B.C. government says it will “develop a provincial grizzly bear management plan with clear objectives, roles, responsibilities and accountabilities.”
The office of the Auditor General in B.C. says the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations have long-standing public commitments for managing grizzly bears.
Auditor General Carol Bellringer says expectations also fell short in the implementation of a recovery plan in the North Cascades, adding an inventory and monitoring strategy of grizzly bears in B.C. and clear policies for bear viewing was absent, as well.
“Grizzly bear populations in some areas of B.C. are increasing, but this is likely happening independently from an adequate management framework,” Bellringer said in a media release.
“The expansion of development in oil and gas, forestry and human settlement makes it more difficult for grizzly bears to mate, and results in food source loss, as well as more human-bear conflict.”
The environment ministries say they will accept all 10 recommendations in the report and plan to work with First Nations, natural resource industries, stakeholders and the public to implement those recommendations.
Grizzly bear trophy hunting was banned in August throughout the province, and all grizzly bear hunting will stop at the end of November in the Great Bear Rainforest.
“As a new government, we agree that more needs to be done for this iconic species and to improve wildlife management overall in British Columbia,” Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson said.
“But we know that grizzly bears remain in 90 per cent of their historic range. We look forward to implementing the auditor general’s recommendations.”
“A strong, clear and proactive management plan will help to ensure that grizzly bear populations will thrive in this province,” Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman said.
“We also look forward to working with all interested British Columbians to develop long-overdue Species at Risk legislation for our province.”