Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When The Olympics Are Over The Bear Killing Begins

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One "Sport" That Doesn't Deserve A Trophy

Government trophy hunt puts iconic spirit bear and Olympic Games symbol at risk

In a few weeks, the B.C. government plans on reopening the trophy hunt of bears in the internationally celebrated Great Bear Rainforest. And the spirit bear, which was featured in the Olympic Games’ opening ceremonies, could be one of its targets.

The future of the white Kermode or spirit bear is being put at risk because black bears that carry the spirit bear’s white fur gene are fair game for trophy hunters.

The genetically distinct Haida black bear and the grizzly bear, which is listed as a Species of Special Concern by the Canadian Federal government, can also be killed senselessly for sport.

Coinciding with the release of a Vancouver Sun full page ad, supported by over 20 million people from 40 countries, conservationists have released a map showing that less than two percent of the white Kermode or spirit bear range actually protects the bears from trophy hunting in B.C.

"How can British Columbia be celebrating the spirit bear in the opening Olympic ceremony and as an official mascot to the Olympics when trophy hunting is allowed in over 98 percent of the animal's genetic range?" asks Ian McAllister of B.C.-based Pacific Wild.

"It just doesn't make sense to protect only the white coloured bears when the black bear also carries the gene that produces white cubs." said Kitasoo-Xai'xais bear viewing guide Doug Neasloss.

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