Grizzly bear boost won’t increase incidents: advocate 0
Current grizzly bear habitat in south west British Columbia. A number of groups have united to start a campaign to boost the population of grizzlies in these areas. (COASTTOCASCADES.ORG)
A group that advocates for grizzly bears wants to see an increase in the animals’ population in southwestern B.C. — including areas on the periphery of Metro Vancouver.
It has been a long time since grizzlies roamed the Lower Mainland and that won’t change, said the man spearheading the initiative to “prevent the disappearance of southwest B.C. grizzlies and rebuild their population.”
Kyle Empringham of Coast to Cascades said such a restoration would provide a healthy boost to the ecosystem, as bears are considered an umbrella species. If grizzlies are doing well, then other species in the same area are also doing well, he said.
The organization has teamed up with others in hopes to convince the province to bring on the bears.
Empringham said one of the areas is Garibaldi-Pitt Meadows, but he isn’t worried about increase in grizzlies coming into contact with humans.
“There are grizzly bear populations within all the areas that we’re looking at,” said Empringham. “The populations that we’re talking about are far enough away from the Vancouver area that I don’t think it would really be much of an issue.”
The Ministry of Environment said that while there may be action taken to encourage natural migration or habitation of bears in southwest B.C., there would not be bears put into the area if risks were high.
“This would form part of a policy decision on whether or not to reintroduce bears into certain areas in the first place,” said a ministry spokesperson in an e-mail. “One of the factors that would be looked at would be potential for human conflicts ... if that potential was high enough, then bears would not be reintroduced in those areas.”
The ministry said any placement of bears in high-risk areas would be “counterproductive.”