Grizzlies: Species of Special Concern
Canada has a "major responsibility for safeguarding remaining grizzly populations," according to a new federal government report.
Canada's Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) met at the beginning of May and assessed thirty-five Canadian wildlife species as at risk, declaring grizzly bears a "Species of Special Concern."
The iconic grizzly, despite its size and strength, is losing out when it comes into conflict with humans, the committee said. "Human-caused mortality and declining habitat have reduced the Grizzly Bear's global range by more than 50%," said the COSEWIC press release.
British Columbia's Flathead River Valley has the greatest density of grizzly bears in the interior of North America. As part of a wildlife corridor that stretches from Yellowstone Park in the U.S. up to the Yukon, the Flathead is a crucial habitat link for grizzlies and other animals.
COSEWIC says the movements of the grizzly are "increasingly disrupted by human encroachment." The Flathead, in B.C.'s far southeast corner, is the last large unsettled low-elevation valley in southern Canada.
However, despite going back and forth from the adjacent Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, grizzlies who live in the Flathead are still at risk from trophy hunting and habitat disruption through road building, logging and quarrying.
In its report, COSEWIC said that Canadian wildlife "depends critically on habitat protection."
Help us protect the grizzly and the other Flathead species, including the fiesty wolverine and hardy mountain goat. It’s time for B.C. to follow the lead of Alberta and Montana, and protect B.C.’s Flathead permanently with a National Park in the southeastern one-third of the valley, which would become part of the Waterton-Glacier World Heritage Site and a separate UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
We also need a Wildlife Management Area in the rest of the valley and adjoining habitat, to preserve a vital link in North America’s longest remaining wildlife corridor.