Biologist hired by NoBearHuntNV.org: Not enough bears to support Nevada hunt | SierraSun.com
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Biologist hired by NoBearHuntNV.org: Not enough bears to support Nevada hunt

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and#8212; The Nevada Department of Wildlifeand#8217;s quota recommendation for the 2012 black bear hunt is being challenged by an Alaskan biologist and author hired by one of the huntand#8217;s most passionate opponents.

and#8220;The State has not met its burden of proof that this population is robust enough to withstand repeated sport hunting without its viability being seriously jeopardized,and#8221; said Stephen Stringham, who holds a doctorate in behavioral and population ecology, in a statement. Stringham is president of Wild Watch based out of Alaska.

Stringhamand#8217;s findings corroborate those expressed earlier by Rick Hopkins, who will speak on behalf of anti bear hunt group NoBearHuntNV.org at the upcoming quota setting meeting of the Nevada Wildlife Commission May 11-12 in Reno. Hopkins will speak both at the bear committee meeting on May 10, and to the commission on May 11.

Stringham was hired by NoBearHuntNV.org as an ongoing independent peer review of the stateand#8217;s data and analysis, according to a Sunday press release. His report alleges:

1. Nevadaand#8217;s bear population is more likely growing at the rate of 3 percent per year vs. 16 percent, as claimed by state biologist Carl Lackey.

2. The Jolly Seber model used by NDOW to calculate Nevadaand#8217;s bear population growth rate rests upon assumptions that do not fit Nevadaand#8217;s bear population. The result is and#8220;garbage in, garbage out.and#8221;

3. At even a 3 percent growth rate, hunting Nevadaand#8217;s wild land bears and#8220;markedly increases risk of over harvest.and#8221;

4. NDOWand#8217;s plans to guard against over hunting Nevadaand#8217;s bears, by reviewing various data in three year cycles, are seriously flawed. and#8220;So few bears could be harvested and#8230; that trends indicative of over harvest might not reach statistical significance for a decade or more, by which time the population could be seriously impacted.and#8221;

5. NDOW has failed to provide data and modeling that are spatially and demographically explicit in order to insure sustainable populations in the various wild land habitats of Nevada.

and#8220;Until better methods are employed, the risks of sport harvest appear to outweigh any benefits-benefits confined to one special interest group, trophy hunters,and#8221; Dr. Stringham concludes in the report, according to the NoBearHuntNV.org press release.

and#8220;These independent expert opinions all underpin NoBearHuntNVand#8217;s position that NDOW and the Commission should not be conducting a hunt or setting any quotas until they can produce peer-reviewed and published data and data analysis,and#8221; said Kathryn Bricker, executive director of NoBearHuntNV.org, in a statement. and#8220;While we appreciate the Commission removing the Tahoe Basin from the hunt, there have been no new studies to examine and address any effects on the bear population or bear distribution of hunting only outside the Lake Tahoe Basin.

and#8220;The lack of credible science upon which this bear hunt is based should be of concern to all Nevadans.and#8221;


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