"BELLA BELLA, British Columbia -- It's called the Great Bear Rainforest, but few grizzly bears have been seen on British Columbia's north and central coast this year. Conservationists and bear viewing guides are blaming the disappearance of the bears on the overfishing of salmon, their main food source.
'I have not observed a single mother and cub-of-the-year in our traditional territory,' said Douglas Neasloss, a bear viewing guide of the Kitasoo-Xaixais First Nation on the central coast. 'We are extremely concerned about the status of our bears right now.'
According to records kept by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, DFO, the British Columbia north coast has experienced four years of extremely low chum salmon returns. Chum are the mainstay salmon species for grizzlies because they have a high fat content, last a long time in the fresh water environment and are large in size.
'DFO has once again ignored conservation concerns and permitted overfishing in Area 6 on the B.C. North Coast,' said Ian McAllister of the BC-based wildlife conservation group, Pacific Wild."