VANCOUVER - A new study says the British Columbia government doesn't know how many grizzly bears remain in the province and is risking their survival by continuing to allow a commercial hunt for the bruins.
The study published today in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE found that about 3,500 bears were killed by humans over a 10-year period from 2001 to 2011.
In that time, the total number of bears killed for hunting, animal control or in automobile collisions exceeded set limits at least once in half of the populations open to hunting in B.C.
The study, involving Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, says the province is one of the last remaining strongholds for grizzly bears.
But Kyle Artelle, the lead author of the paper and a member of the Raincoast foundation, says the provincial government does not really know how many grizzly bears there are throughout the province.
Raincoast opposes the hunt and in the past has purchased guide-outfitting licenses in the province to prevent commercial hunting.