An external review of B.C.’s grizzly bear management procedures provided the province with 51 recommendations to enhance the system already in place.

According to Minister of Forests and local MLA Steve Thomson, the province is now taking steps to improve its procedures in light of recommendations from the expert panel.

The authors of the Scientific Review of Grizzly Bear Harvest Management System in B.C. found that the province has a high level of rigour and adequate safeguards in place to ensure the long-term stability of grizzly populations.

They also note that B.C. has produced more DNA-based population estimates for grizzly bears than any other similar jurisdiction in the world.

But the report also includes 51 recommendations aimed at enhancing habitat protection, population inventory, access and harvest management and increasing public consultation.

The report was prepared by a panel of three respected wildlife biologists outside of B.C., all leaders in the field of grizzly bear research and conservation.

“Assessing the sustainability of wildlife harvest is a challenge for many species, but the B.C. grizzly bear harvest management procedures are rigorous, science-based and have meaningful safeguards,” said co-author Andrew Derocher.

“The future of grizzly bears in the coming decades, however, will depend on planning, habitat management, population monitoring and conservative harvest levels.”

The province says wildlife staff are now updating the grizzly bear harvest management procedure to address some of the recommendations, while others require additional analysis.

“The panel confirmed that B.C.’s population estimates are second to none and has provided many valuable recommendations that will further improve grizzly bear management decisions in B.C. and help guide long-term conservation policy and procedures for years to come,” said Thomson.

According to the province there are estimated 15,000 grizzly bears in B.C.