IUCN SSC Guiding Principles on Trophy Hunting as a Tool for Creating Conservation Incentives

IUCN has long recognized that the wise and sustainable use of wildlife can be consistent with and contribute to conservation, because the social and economic benefits derived from use of species can provide incentives for people to conserve them and their habitats. This document builds on existing IUCN policies by setting forth SSC guiding principles on the use of “trophy hunting”, as defined in Section II, as a tool for creating incentives for the conservation of species and their habitats and for the equitable sharing of the benefits of use of natural resources. Trophy hunting is often a contentious activity, with people supporting or opposing it on a variety of biological, economic, ideological or cultural bases. This document is focused solely on the relevance of trophy hunting for conservation and associated local livelihoods. Nothing in this document is intended to support or condone trophy hunting activities that are unsustainable; adversely affect habitats; increase extinction risks; undermine the rights of local communities to manage, steward, and benefit from their wildlife resources; or foster corruption or poor governance.

Predicting Grizzly Bear Density in Western North America

Garth Mowat, Douglas C. Heard, Carl J. Schwarz

Conservation of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) is often controversial and the disagreement often is focused on the estimates of density used to calculate allowable kill. Many recent estimates of grizzly bear density are now available but field-based estimates will never be available for more than a small portion of hunted populations. Current methods of predicting density in areas of management interest are subjective and untested. Objective methods have been proposed, but these statistical models are so dependent on results from individual study areas that the models do not generalize well. We built regression models to relate grizzly bear density to ultimate measures of ecosystem productivity and mortality for interior and coastal ecosystems in North America. We used 90 measures of grizzly bear density in interior ecosystems, of which 14 were currently known to be unoccupied by grizzly bears. In coastal areas, we used 17 measures of density including 2 unoccupied areas. Our best model for coastal areas included a negative relationship with tree cover and positive relationships with the proportion of salmon in the diet and topographic ruggedness, which was correlated with precipitation. Our best interior model included 3 variables that indexed terrestrial productivity, 1 describing vegetation cover, 2 indices of human use of the landscape and, an index of topographic ruggedness. We used our models to predict current population sizes across Canada and present these as alternatives to current population estimates. Our models predict fewer grizzly bears in British Columbia but more bears in Canada than in the latest status review. These predictions can be used to assess population status, set limits for total human-caused mortality, and for conservation planning, but because our predictions are static, they cannot be used to assess population trend.

Grizzly Bears in British Columbia

Today there are a minimum of 13,800 Grizzly Bears in British Columbia. These 13,800 animals must co-exist with four million humans. For centuries, humans have refused to tolerate this large, mobile, and potentially dangerous species in or near settled areas or livestock ranges. Grizzly Bears are relatively long-lived and intelligent and have adapted to some extent to human activities and land uses, but wilderness is where they do best.