Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The cruelest April Fool's joke

It's that time of year: April Fool's Day.  When I was nine years old my Dad rushed down into my bedroom in Salmon Arm, British Columbia to tell me the news -- my beloved NHLer Guy Lafleur had been traded that morning from my equally beloved Montreal Canadiens to the California Golden Seals.  I lay in bed and cried and cried, heart-broken and crushed, until finally my Dad gave my arm a gentle punch and said those infamous words, "April Fool's!" and snuck back out of my room.

It still brings a devilish smile to my face every time I think about it, how my Dad took me at my most vulnerable and pulled a fast one on me. And since that day onwards, I've always tried my best to pull my own brilliant versions of April Fool's on those around me.

Only that this time around, as we 'celebrate' April 1st, 2014, it's bear lovers that are the brunt of the foolish joke: because this morning it's no April Fool's line when I tell you that grizzly bear hunting season opens in British Columbia, and the hills are alive with trophy hunters intent on adding a new rug or head to their grisly collections.

The beautiful big bears of the Chilcotin are once again being hunted today, after 13 years of peace

April 1st, Day One of grizzly bear hunting season in B.C., despite 87% of the province's residents being opposed to the hunt, and despite all of the science pointing out quite clearly that the current hunt is not based on science and is not sustainable in the long-term. You can ignore the ethics of the trophy hunt all you want -- why are grizzly hunters so intent on killing something that they do not eat or need to kill -- but the science is supposed to be what our governments use to manage our wildlife.


So when four of the world's most prominent grizzly bear and wildlife scientists speak out publicly about the failed science behind the BC grizzly bear hunt, I tend to listen: http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/Stephen+Hume+Grizzly+hunt+fails+test+science+experts/9652306/story.html

Nature, the International Journal of Science, published the scientists findings, too, again coming out strongly against the grizzly hunt: http://www.nature.com/news/canadian-grizzly-bears-face-expanded-hunt-1.14914 

Another gorgeous Chilcotin bear that will be under fire from grizzly hunters this morning on 'April Fools Day'

So why isn't the British Columbia government listening to any of this? Why are they not listening to the general public?  Those are both good questions, and I suggest you fire off a quick email to the BC Premier Christy Clark at premier@gov.bc.ca and to Minister Steve Thomson at flnr.minister@gov.bc.ca  (the idiot that keeps defending the hunt in the BC Legislature saying repeatedly that it's "based on science") to ask them exactly those questions (and please feel free to include the links to those two articles).

Check out this article for more ammunition: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Stephen+Hume+Brutish+Columbia+trophy+bear+hunt+puts+display/9624211/story.html.
Vancouver Sun columnist Stephen Hume brilliantly sums up some of the ridiculousness of the trophy hunt.  Did you know that almost a third of the bears killed are females (even though grizzly hunters are not supposed to shoot females)?  And perhaps the best/worst part of the entire article is when Hume exposes that grizzly bear hunting in British Columbia contributes the same amount to the provincial economy as the CAR ALLOWANCE for 19 cabinet ministers and their assistant ministers. No, that's not an April Fool's joke, either, though I wish it was.

And if you feel like getting onto Twitter to express your displeasure, feel free to tweet Premier Christy Clark (@christyclarkbc) or Minister Thomson (@Steve4Kelowna).

I'm usually not that gentle in my tweets to either of them (read from bottom up to the top)

And finally, I want to point out a great article in the Huffington Post recently from a friend and colleague, Chelsea Turner: Bears are My Neighbours, and You Wouldn't Slaughter your Neighbours.  Please take a read when you have a chance and let me know what you think of Chelsea's opinions in my Comments section below.

Here's to hoping that by next year, April Fool's Day will be back to being just that...a day of funny fake jokes, not cruel real ones.

Thank you everyone for all of your support in trying to shut down the British Columbia grizzly bear hunt once and for all.

John

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What has happened to Democracy? Harper and Crusty share the same bed!!

April 1, 2014 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger eyerobot said...

Thank you for your tireless work. I will pass this on as far and wide as I can.

April 1, 2014 at 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A group of 78 people were going to BC to vacation in 2 weeks, but as I hear this news
we will not go, due to gun happy people who want to kill BEARS??? How stupid is this? Others
who have hears we are not going said they wouldn't be going either, so Canada is shooting themselves
in the foot. BAD BAD KARMA.

April 1, 2014 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger SaveGrizzlies said...

I cannot believe this passed, it is all about the $$$. I think it is so sick that someone can call this fair, killing a animal for sport is NOT hunting, a true hunter kills when needed and uses as much as he can of the animal. This is murder....no other word describes this except Barbaric. I am afraid the Grizzly will be on the extinct list very soon, Esp if this ignorance continues. I live in a rural area in BC, I am on the Bear Aware Team, I joined when I moved here and heard of all the bears being killed every year due to peoples ignorance, garbage bears being killed, and people thinking the bears were habituated to it, and had to be killed. Well I have tried to get it out there that if there is no food there is no bear, it will pass through town at times, but wont stay, we need to keep garbage locked up so the bears feed on there natural diet and are not killed. Taking pictures of a mother bear eating garbage with her cubs is not something to be proud of unless you like the fact you are the reason those 3 bears will be killed. Sorry for the rant, I love Bears and wish I could save them all. Thank You for all your hard work and Amazing photography of these most Beautiful animals we love.

April 1, 2014 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Ursula Easterbrook said...

Chelsea's article is right up my alley, as are the others. But, there many countries in the world where neighbours kill each other - for differences: ethnic, religious, wealth. So maybe her title is wrong!

April 1, 2014 at 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very sorry to hear this. We have the same thing happening here in the USA to our wolves. A few killers have all the rights and the animals and the majority of citizens have none. This is so wrong. We must change this to be the other way around.

April 1, 2014 at 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whilst there is a bear hunting season in BC, I will not be spending my dollars to travel there. Will be going to Scotland in the summer and Japan for skiing in the winter. It is that simple.

April 1, 2014 at 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My frustration with this kind of 'hunting' being allowed goes right off the charts. I have traveled to BC many times in the past - specifically for the privilege of seeing even one of these great and wonderful bears, and was rewarded with the experience photographing a couple each time. I cannot understand what kind of person does this kind of wasteful, unethical 'hunting', or what kind of person would allow this. I keep asking myself "What's wrong with these people??" We in Ontario have been fighting to stop the reintroduction of the spring black bear hunt here as well, to no avail, even though the vast majority of 'Ontarians' also do not want this. My heart just breaks for the cubs that will certainly be left orphaned, to starve, die of hypothermia, or suffer predation by other carnivore species. I can't explain it, I don't understand it, and even if any kind of science did support this killing, what about those cubs? Why would both these provincial governments support 'death-tourists' over people who have respect for your/our wild lands and wildlife? Should we seriously consider forming a conservation society modeled after the Sea Shepherds, but for land-based wildlife, and do what we can to expose and stop this? I have signed petitions, tweeted, written letters (for both Ontario and BC), and the feeling of helplessness from the lack of impact on both these governments just gnaws at those of us who aren't sure what the next step should be, but believe that there must be a next step of some kind. This is just incredibly sad (especially for the cubs), and disgusting that this wildlife should be murdered for the stupidest of reasons. This is so sick.

April 1, 2014 at 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kill all your grizzly bears like we did in CA and then put it on your flag to highlight the fact that there is not a single one left in our state.

April 2, 2014 at 3:50 AM  
Anonymous Darren said...

I have started an AVAAZ petition John (not sure if this was done already but more the merrier in my opinion) - check it out here and share wherever you can (FB, Twitter etc)!!
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Steve_Thomson_Stop_the_British_Columbia_Grizzly_Bear_Hunt/?nVRxnbb

April 2, 2014 at 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hunters are the best conservationists the world has ever seen, work with them rather than use scare tactics to try and shut them down. ALSO bears need to be scared of man, a bear that's not scared of man is more of a dead bear than a hunted one.

April 2, 2014 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger JohnEMarriott said...

I work with many hunters that are indeed conservationists. Many are also not. To say they are the best conservationists in the world is just not true. The work of the hunting community in BC pales in comparison to the work of conservation organizations like Pacific Wild and Raincoast.

And your final point is one of the most used myths that hunters try to propogate. Bears are not naturally scared of humans and more importantly, are not naturally aggressive towards humans. That's why we have 5 million visitors a year in Banff and Jasper each year, yet less than one bear attack a year, despite the fact these bears haven't been hunted for over 70 years.

April 2, 2014 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Stikine Wild said...

Many opposing the grizzly hunt. Yes very immoral action. I'm not sure how the dark hats can be removed from our society and live with our neighbourly bears and other wildlife. They definitely need to evolve to a high state of consciousness and have some understanding of good to grow into into the future. History has been written over and over with killing and suffering. We have evolved out of witch burning and serial killing. Why is there such love by some to allow such slaughter of our neighbourly wildlife.

April 4, 2014 at 10:24 AM  

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