The Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia says the greatest risk to grizzly bears is not the hunt, but rather the degradation of grizzly bear habitat.

The Office has wrapped up an audit of grizzly bear management. Auditor Carol Bellringer says human activities, aside from hunting, are most affecting the bears.

“We found that the greatest threat to grizzly bears is not hunting. Rather, it’s the human activities that degrade and diminish grizzly bear habitat,” she says.

Bellringer notes that the Ministries have taken action to reduce some of these impacts, but have yet to evaluate if these actions are effective.

Bellringer says another one of the great risks to bears is resource roads. “BC has over 600,000 kilometres of resource roads and that number is increasing by an order of 10,000 kilometres every year. This expansion allows greater human access to wilderness areas. Unfortunately, this results in increased illegal killings of grizzly bears, and many more human-wildlife conflicts.”

British Columbia is one of the last areas of North America where grizzly bears live in their natural habitat.

The health of BC’s 15,000 grizzlies is important because, as an umbrella species, they are an indicator of how well other species and ecosystems are doing.