Great Canadian Parks / British Columbia

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The Parks / British Columbia / Khutzeymateen Grizzy Bear Sanctuary



 


Urban expansion, agriculture, logging, mining, hydroelectric development, oil and gas exploration and increased recreational use of the back country have all caused a loss of the grizzly habitat and have placed these magnificent creatures at risk. Habitat loss has a most devastating effect on the grizzly because of two factors: they require a home range up to several hundred square kilometres and they have a very slow reproductive rate.

 

In the US, it is estimated that fewer than 1000 grizzlies still survive in a habitat reduced by 99% due to human encroachment. In Canada, their habitat is either lost (24%), threatened or at risk. BC's wilderness already has approximately 200 000 kilometres of roads that increase access to hunters along the bears' travel routes.

 


In alpine and sub-alpine areas, increased cattle grazing within prime bear habitat disrupts their spring and fall feeding sites. Oil and gas exploration involves surface trenching, access roads, seismic lines and transmission lines; in northwestern BC, for example, 13 000 square kilometres of seismic lines and transmission lines led to the extirpation of grizzlies from the Sikanni-Beaton Plateau.

 





Damage to river ecosystems by hydroelectric dams and to prime habitat by ski resorts and snowmobile and ATV trails is irreparable. Coastal bears are highly dependent on old-growth forests - the same areas most valued by the logging industry. Logging has also been cited as the cause of the loss of 140 wild salmon stocks and the presently at risk designation of 624 others, the most critical food source for the coastal bears. Most types of human progress tends to silt the rivers, create noise that alters the bears' behaviour and produce roads that lead to bear/vehicle fatalities when bears are attracted to the berries and shoots that spring up in the cleared spaces.

 

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