OVERKILL: ONE BY ONE, TROPHY HUNTERS ARE RUBBING OUT BRITISH COLUMBIA’S GRIZZLIES
By PAUL KOBERSTEIN
It seems truly amazing chat grizzly bears still roam the wildlands of North America. You can still see lots of bears amassing in one place, Knight Inlet, on the central coast of British Columbia. Glendale Lodge there is booked solid this season with tourists who have come to witness grizzlies feeding on pink salmon migrating inland to spawn. They shoot the fearsome grizzly - with their cameras.
But a different sort of visitor also comes to the coastal temperate rainforest to shoot some grizzly. With a gun. Hundreds from Canada, the U.S. and Europe are paying upwards of $10,000 for the opportunity to join a hunt that began September 1. They hunt grizzlies for the trophy, never for the meat. And now there's trouble.
The grizzly, hunted to extinction throughout most of its range in North America, may be facing a similar fate here in British Columbia. Disturbing new evidence suggests grizzlies are being systematically extinguished from the province. No one knows for sure how many remain. Estimates vary wildly, ranging from 3,000 to 14,000. Last December, 68 professional biologists called for a hunting moratorium pending the completion of long term population studies throughout BC.