Grizzly study sheds further light on bear numbers

A study of grizzly bear populations released Wednesday provides further insight into populations in B.C.

  • Dec. 19, 2013 7:00 a.m.

A study of grizzly bear populations released Wednesday provides further insight into populations in B.C., while confirming that provincial wildlife biologists continue to refine estimates with the best available science to ensure harvest levels are sustainable.

The peer-reviewed study, entitled “Predicting grizzly bear density in western North America” is co-authored by two provincial wildlife biologists and is published in the science journal, PLOS ONE.

The predictions are based on a model that generated population estimates for all areas of B.C.

The model does not suggest any change in grizzly bear numbers, but does provide improved information and increased understanding about factors influencing grizzly bear density.

The model predicted a population of 13,131 bears.

This prediction is one factor considered in estimating populations.

Other data sources include field inventory work using DNA sampling (typically gathered via grizzly bear hair recovered at bait sites).

Taken together, these data sources helped inform the most recent provincial grizzly bear population of approximately 15,000 bears.

While the study was published Wednesday, ministry wildlife biologists used predictions in the model alongside other available data when making grizzly bear management decisions in 2012 and 2013.

In those areas where the combined result showed harvest rates higher than policy recommends, hunting opportunities were reduced.

Grizzly bear harvest rates in British Columbia are set conservatively and well below what the population can sustain.

The study provides insights into grizzly bear habitat and population.

Some of the model’s findings suggest:

• Grizzly bears are more abundant in non-forested areas probably because the plants that they eat are more likely to grow in open environments.

• Confirmation of earlier studies that showed greater salmon availability leads to larger numbers of grizzly bears.

• Grizzly bear density is lower where black bears are present.

• The North Cascades, an area where grizzly bears have been largely absent for many decades, could support several hundred grizzly bears both north and south of the Canada-USA border.

• The number of bears killed by people was not related to population density which suggests that current levels of mortality do not  measurably reduce population size.

• There is a lower density of bears in areas with high human density and in flat areas with low rainfall.

The study released today reaffirms that grizzly populations in B.C. are being sustainably managed, and with the best available science. To read the full report visit: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0082757

Quick Facts:

• Approximately 35 per cent of British Columbia is closed to grizzly hunting.

• Historically, hunters have killed around 300 grizzly bears a year out of an estimated population of 15,000, or a two per cent harvest rate.

• The grizzly bear hunt is the most intensively managed hunt of any species in B.C.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health has issued an overdose alert for 100 Mile House.
Interior Health issues overdose alert for 100 Mile House

Health officials encourage users to be careful and spread the word.

Women’s Contact Society community liaison Eileen Alberton with her dogs Luigi, left, and Sami enjoys a daily walk in Big Lake. (Photo submitted)
Women’s wellness focus of International Women’s Day events in Williams Lake

In its third year, the event will be offered virtually

A snowfall warning has been issued for Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Black Press Media)
Snowfall warning issued for Cariboo region

Between 10 to 15 cm expected

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Williams Lake’s YBC Bowlers Remy LeBlanc (back from left), coach Kevin McAlpine, Kara-lynn McAlpine, coach Lindsey Kelley, coach Lisa Mcalpine, Avrel Kidney (middle from left), Weston Kelly, Renee O’Hara, Lily Stewart, Brandon LeBlanc, Serena Kidney (front from left), Elsa Kunka and Colton Lendvoy have managed to carry on through the COVID-19 pandemic while following health guidelines. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Youth bowlers still throwing strikes, despite pandemic

Young bowlers have been able to carry on relatively unaffected due to the nature of the sport

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Most Read