Trophy hunting of grizzly bears in British Columbia threatens the existence of the species in North America, two environmental groups said in a report released on Thursday.
The National Resources Defense Council and the David Suzuki Foundation said human-caused deaths of the bears have occurred at more than double what the British Columbia government has deemed acceptable for the species long-term sustainability.
Trophy hunting ‚Äď the killing of the large bears for sport ‚Äď accounts for 88 percent of human-caused grizzly deaths, the report said.
‚ÄúGrizzly bears will only remain in the U.S. and Canada if we reduce rates of human-caused mortality,‚ÄĚ Louisa Willcox, senior wildlife advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.
Although grizzlies are protected as an endangered species in the United States, they get no such protection in Canada. And grizzly populations in the lower 48 are dependent upon cross-border movement for breeding, the report said.
The two groups called on British Columbia to give grizzlies the same protections they get in the U.S.
‚ÄúCanadians can learn a lot from the history of bear management in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. The ban on hunting in the parks has been essential to maintaining grizzlies in these last strongholds for grizzlies in the lower 48 states,‚ÄĚ Willcox said.