Executive Director, Raincoast Conservation Foundation
Christopher Genovali has served as Executive Director for the British Columbia based Raincoast Conservation Foundation (http://www.raincoast.org) for over a decade. Christopher has had numerous articles and features published on North American wilderness and wildlife conservation issues in print and online publications throughout Canada and internationally (Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, Victoria Times Colonist, Victoria News, The Ecologist, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Alternatives Journal, Edmonton Journal, Georgia Straight, Monday Magazine, The Tyee, Truthout, CounterPunch, Common Dreams, Buzzflash, etc.). He has also appeared as a spokesperson on various radio and television outlets such as CBC's 'As It Happens', CBC 'Newsworld', US National Public Radio, CKNW, CFAX, CTV, Global TV, BBC TV, BBC radio, Channel 4 UK, the Knowledge Network, and CBC News Vancouver.
British Columbia signed off on Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain oil sands pipeline and supertanker project in the Salish Sea. The announcement confirmed that Premier Christy Clark's posturing with her "five conditions con" over the past four and a half years has essentially been political Kabuki theatre.
It has been 14 years since Southern Resident killer whales were listed as endangered under Canada's Species at Risk Act. Today, less than 85 of these whales remain. Despite their legal obligation to act, the federal government has failed to take measures to further recovery of the Southern Residents. As one of Canada's most endangered group of animals, actions for their survival cannot wait any longer.
The enduring threat of loud tankers and the additional possibility of an oil spill place killer whales in untenable and unacceptable peril. Even if the probability of a large oil spill is low, the consequence of such an event is potentially catastrophic.
Canadian and U.S. oil spill experts recognize that predicted increases in vessel traffic in the Salish Sea increase the probability of an oil spill and intensify vessel disturbance in an ecosystem already confronting myriad pressures.
The province has still not recognized the ban on trophy hunting imposed by CFN and will continue to issue tags to kill grizzly bears and black bears in all areas of the Great Bear Rainforest, including in some areas where the black bears carry the white "Spirit bear" gene.
The Salish Sea is seen as a desirable place by fossil fuel exporters to ship non-renewable, and typically dangerous, hydrocarbons to foreign markets. The proposed tanker route overlays much of the critical habitat of the Salish Sea's endangered southern resident killer whales.
Proposing a year-round open season on wolves primarily based upon anecdotal evidence from special interests who possess a self-serving intolerance of large carnivores, such as trophy hunters, is the antithesis of science-based wildlife management.
Premier Christy Clark's awkward and derisive response to Pam Anderson and Miley Cyrus for having called out the unscientific, unethical and unwarranted B.C. wolf cull was inappropriately personal toward the two celebrities, while being factually incorrect about the cull.
Grey wolves in Alberta are exposed to lethal threats from every angle, including aerial gunning from helicopters, choking neck-snares, and poison-baits that lure wolves and many other species to their excruciating deaths. Alberta's liberal hunting and trapping regulations assure that the devastation of wolf families occurs nearly year-round.
The senseless killing of Cecil the lion has catalyzed a worldwide discussion about the gratuitous trophy hunting of large carnivores. In Western Canada, countless "Cecils" are killed in an equally senseless manner each and every year for the amusement, pleasure and excitement of recreational hunters.
If we want to save more than memories of southern resident killer whales, we have to act now. This might include restricting the numbers and routes of vessels that travel through their critical habitat and cleaning up polluted waters while preventing additional contamination from new pollutants.
The recent English Bay spill in Vancouver and the current oil spill disaster in Santa Barbara, California have given a heightened sense of urgency to Raincoast's 500 hundred pages of scientific evidence on the threats Trans Mountain poses to the Salish Sea and its wildlife.
This wolf cull is a consequence of industrial logging and other human activity, which have transformed the caribou's habitat into a landscape that can no longer provide the food, cover, and security these animals need to survive. Rather than address the real problem, i.e., the destruction of life sustaining caribou habitat, the B.C. government has chosen to scapegoat wolves.
Not only would the bill do nothing to stop, or even reduce, the recreational killing of grizzlies, it would end up providing cover for grizzly killers who would like nothing more than to be able to mischaracterize their trophy hunting of bears as a food hunt.
Complaining about not getting enough wildlife to kill, as compared to non-resident hunters, has been prominent in the BCWF's calculated messaging. In contrast, provincial mortality statistics show that from 1978 through 2011, resident hunters killed 5,900 grizzlies while non-resident hunters killed 4,100. To those 10,000 bears it was no consolation whether the bullets ripping through their bodies, causing immeasurable pain and suffering, were fired from the guns of resident or non-resident hunters.
Mirroring Alberta, the the government of British Columbia has just announced a plan to kill close to 200 wolves in the South Selkirk and South Peace regions of the province to ostensibly "save caribou." The B.C. cull will employ helicopter gunning of wolves, carried out before the snowmelt.
After more than a decade of waiting, the Southern Residents are no better off now than when they were listed as endangered 15 years ago. Federal fisheries managers appear unwilling to address the availability of Chinook salmon, an essential food for whales, lest they rile interests in the sports and commercial fishing sectors.
What do you love about B.C.'s Fraser River, the Gulf Islands, and the Salish Sea? What are your concerns for the future of the Salish Sea region, the health of the B.C. economy and the impacts of climate change? The answers to these personal questions are fundamental to informing decisions about Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain expansion and are at the heart of "Directly Affected," a new documentary film produced by Vancouver filmmaker Zack Embree and Raincoast Conservation Foundation.