Part II - Bear Referendum
Chapter 26 - August Media Coverage
August 1, 1996, Thur.
The Georgia Straight
by Charlie Smith
Hunters target Marr
During a recent province-wide tour, Western Canada wilderness Committee wildlife campaigner Anthony Marr discovered how difficult it will be to achieve a ban on bear hunting. He told the Straight that in public meetings to promote holding a vote on the issue, he was usually hounded by dozens of angry hunters who tried to intimidate him. “In Port Alberni, 60 of them showed up, and there were only five environmentalists,” Marr said. “They are organized and they are hostile, and when they show up, it’s 10 to one - 10 of them to one of us.”
Elections BC reported as of July 26 that 87 groups and individuals had registered themselves as opponents to WCWC’s proposed initiative on prohibiting bear hunting. “Our association will certainly be opposing the initiative drive in various ways, because I don’t think that the Western Canada Wilderness Committee should be allowed to get away with spreading misleading information about this particular issue,” Guide-Outfitters of BC general manger Dale Drown told the Straight. . . .
Marr will speak about this issue on Thursday, August 8, at the H.R. MacMillan Planetarium at 7:30 p.m. - and he expects to see angry hunters in the audience. “I’m beginning to enjoy confronting them,” he chuckled.
August 1, 1996, Thur.
The Shuswap Sun
by Dan Odenbach
Just another meeting Marred by Anthony
Compared to most of his other meetings around the province, Anthony Marr’s last stop in Salmon Arm was a tame one.
Marr, wildlife campaigners of Western Canada Wilderness Committee, held an information meeting in the Salmon Arm Community Center last week to generate support for WCWC’s end-the-bear-hunt initiative.
Organizers wouldn’t release the place and time of the meeting because they feared bear hunters would show up to disrupt the meeting.
“There is no point in holding a public meeting if it’s going to be destroyed by all the interruptions,” said local WCWC member Alan Bangay. . . .
Marr has been on a province-wide tour since June 5. . . .
. . . . “Some of the hunters have been stalking me around the province, showing up more than once,” recalls Marr. . . .
August 2, 1996, Fri.
Pique News magazine
by Michael Allen
Black bear researcher
Bear update: Hunting bears increases bears’ value
. . . In August, Anthony Marr, an environmentalist who has been campaigning for the last several years against the illegal trade in bear parts, will be arriving in Whistler to campaign for the banning of legal bear hunting in BC. When I first heard of Mr. Marr and his battle against the illegal trade of bear parts, I thought it was great that someone was taking a strong hold on this issue. But when I learned of his new campaign with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee on legal bear hunting in BC, I was shocked.
His argument against the poaching of bears and the illegal trade of their parts is strong and I am in support, but I seriously question if he has the scientific data to support the argument for the campaign . . . With respect to Mr. Marr, I do not think he even has the background to attempt an assessment of Black bear management in BC. . . .
In order to increase the Black bear’s value and thus be managed more critically it must continue to be hunted as a big game animal. Black bears must . . . have some use to be valued . . .
. . . . If we banned bear hunting in BC, the bears would be the first to suffer. Their value would drop and they would be subject to increased poaching because Black bear value would rise on the illegal trade market. It would be very difficult to manage (than now) because the information generated from hunter harvest statistics would not be available to indicate trends in population levels. . . .
Revenue generated from hunting in BC helps to fund many habitat conservation projects and wildlife research. Hunters also provide input to bear numbers and incidents of poaching. . . .
August 6, 1996, Tue.
The Shoppers’ Guide
by Ruth Keskinen
Bears possibly endangered in BC in the future
Anthony Marr, who grew up in Hong Kong, has a message for Canadians. . . .
Marr, a wildlife campaigner for Western Canada Wilderness Committee, estimates that the trade in exotic and endangered animals, in whole or part, dead or alive, gross $6 billion a year worldwide.
“If only 0.1% of the Asian population use these animals parts, it would be a huge market,” said Marr . . .
Marr said if bear-hunting is banned, then it would be a clear-cut case that anyone caught killing a bear is a poacher. . . .
Marr said his meetings throughout the province have met with a great deal of opposition from hunters. “They pride themselves as the eyes and ears in the field against poachers, but it’s like coyotes watching over sheep against wolves,” said Marr. . . .
August 8, 1996, Thur.
The Valley Voice
Bear Protection Act campaign gets under way
Anthony Marr, biodiversity campaigner for the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and lead campaigner of WCWC’s BET’R (bear, elephant, tiger & rhino) Campaign, has received approval for $75,000 from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for work aimed at preserving the Bengal tiger against poaching and habitat loss in India.
On the anti-bear-hunt campaign, Marr said, “In Quebec, it is legal to possess and sell indigenous bear parts. In BC, both are illegal. This allows for a legal loop-hole big enough to shove a few thousand dead bears through, where poachers can ‘launder’ illegal BC bear gall bladders into legal Quebec gall bladders. Not only would the Quebec government legalize them for you, it would give each gall a tag number, and allow you to export them out of the country to places like South Korea. There is an increase in demand in Asian countries, which has already driven the Asiatic Black bear to the brink of extinction. Now, it’s our bears over here taking over the load.”
. . . . If you would like to volunteer to collect petition signatures for this campaign, please call Erica Mallam at the Valhalla Wilderness Preservation Society office.
August 11, 1996
Kee-Two Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
2061 70th Street S.E.
Attention: Paul George, Adriane Carr, Joe Foy
I thought that you might be interested in my perception of Anthony Marr’s presentation, which I attended in Salmon Arm.
I was informed of this meeting approximately an hour before it was due to start, and thus had no preconception of what to expect.
However, I was totally mesmerized by Anthony’s presentation, which I found to be very powerful and emotional. Anthony is a very quiet-spoken person - no histrionics, but nevertheless a lot of drama. I really listened to what he was saying, and every word hit home like an arrow, and stayed with me long after he had finished.
Theoretically I have been aware of the atrocities perpetrated on bears due to poaching, and I have always been anti-sport-and-trophy-hunting, but Anthony’s way of presenting had a huge effect on me, and actually galvanized me on the spot into helping with this campaign.
I personally can’t recommend this presentation enough, and the friends that I attended with are in total agreement with me.
The very best of luck with this campaign.
August 12, 1996
Pique News magazine
by David Gowmon
It was with some interest, and concern, that I read Michael Allen’s recent article “Hunting bears increase bears’ value” in response to Anthony Marr’s campaign . . .
There may be an argument in favour of some form of bear control, from time to time . . . And closely regulated legal hunting may be the most effective way of doing this. But I feel that Anthony Marr’s campaign carries a much deeper and troubling message for us all, which cannot be addressed in narrow scientific terms. . . .
The extreme position taken by environmentalists such as Anthony Marr are telling us all to wake up and smell the coffee before the pot boils over . . .
August 17, 1996, Sat.
The Vancouver Sun
by Mia Stainsby
Caught at a Cultural Crossroads
A Chinese-Canadian environmentalist takes on both the Chinese and Canadian traditions
Anthony Marr, the man who’s threatening to take all the fun out of bear hunting, is in a show down with hunters, is sitting in a Gastown cafe. “Mind if I order breakfast?” he asks.
He orders scrambled eggs and sausages.
He’s working on becoming a vegetarian. “It’s little tough right now. Most Chinese people eat a little meat and vegetable with the rice. My parents do, and I have dinner with them quite often.”
Marr, 52, is in a show-down against hunters, who aren’t taking too kindly to his quest to put an end to bear hunting in BC. The winding path that brought him to this juncture appeared before him unexpectedly.
In truth, Marr would rather be with his “baby”, a book over 800 pages long called OMNI-SCIENCE, A New Theory of Cosmology, which he began writing in 1979.
So what is he doing in conflict over bear hunting, after spending decades writing about cosmic harmony? On a recent tour of 50 rural BC communities, he faced rooms of angry hunters and has a fistful of press clippings about the dust ups. On the other hand, he also found supporters in those communities.
Being a Chinese-Canadian has almost everything to do with the genesis of his environmental activism. The more he heard about the Chinese use of animal parts, especially those from endangered species like the tiger and rhino, the more he felt compelled to speak up.
“Something’s got to be done about this,” he said to his friends. “And I think a Chinese person should do it, and I think you’re looking at him.” That was three and a half years ago. . . .
On the subject of hunting, Marr has killed animals before and understand the hunters’ mind set. “When you own a hunting rifle, you really want to shoot it at something alive. The gun almost demands it,” he says.
Which explains how, in 1965 and 1976, while working as a geophysics surveyor, he joined in two “yahoo” killings. He remembers the dates because the incidents were etched in his mind. . . .
Back at camp, on the last occasion, the wife of the helicopter pilot took a look at the mountain goat carcass in the sling and broke into tears. “Several minutes ago, this was a majestic creatures. See what you’ve done!” she cried.
It was a turning point for Marr, and the beginning of a new respect for wildlife. “I was deeply moved by her. I’ve never fired my gun since.” . . .
“I was going to concentrating on finishing my book, but all of a sudden, when I found out that the tiger had no more than a decade left in the wild, my time was usurped. It was more urgent. But the book will remain the crowning achievement of my life.”. . .
Nearly completed, it is more than the boasting of a bloated ego. In talks with academics up and down the West Coast, he’s drawn raving reviews.
About the manuscript and Marr’s presentation, Donald Savage, a UC Berkeley professor of paleontology wrote: “Professors and scientists at the universities of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California, to date, have each spent two hours or more listening to the powerful presentation of Anthony Marr of his erudite synthesis of scientific, philosophical and sociological theory. I can add nothing to the praise that has been heaped upon Mr. Marr and his ideas by these women and men, and I endorse their statement without reservation.”
Marr has 30 such letters of support for the publication of his work.
The other issue in which Marr has become embroiled is that of cutting trees on private property in Vancouver.
The perception that recent Chinese immigrants do cut down trees is well founded, he believes. “Some new Oriental property owners think that it would enhance the property value, especially if they want to sell to another Oriental,” Marr says. “Superstitious systems like Feng Shui also has a lot to do about it.”
It is talked about among community residents privately, but not publicly because no one wants to be seen as a racists, “but the sentiment is very much there,” he says.
Love may have something to do with Marr’s critical stance on Chinese culture.
“I think my first true love was a Chinese woman whose family forced her to break up with me on grounds of social disparity between our two families, at pain of being disowned. To my great disappointment, she bowed to the pressure. That was back in 1967, and I became very disenchanted with the Chinese culture in specific and old traditions in general. Whether by intent or coincidence, I’ve never dated a Chinese woman eversince.
“But in retrospect, it was a bless in disguise, because if that didn’t happen, I might still be deeply entrenched in the Chinese community like so many other Chinese immigrants,” he says.
The Chinese reaction to Marr is mixed. At schools, he received enthusiastic support from students. “But when I appear on Chinese radio talk shows, I catch quite a bit of flack. The two main questions were: ‘Why are you trying to blacken the Chinese reputation?’ and ‘Why are you working against humans in favour of animals?’” . . .
Angela Kwan, executive director of the Chinese Cultural Center in Vancouver, doesn’t for a moment believe everything about the Chinese culture is good. “But I hope he can be open to the process of gradual change,” she says. “I hope he goes and talks to different groups and looks at both points of view and map out a process for change, rather than going from A to Z right away.”
“There is no time for gradual change where the tiger is concerned,” Marr says. . ..
Kwan said the Chinese group that opposed the tree-cutting bylaw in Vancouver was making a point about over-regulation of private property, and “unfortunately, it was focused on trees.”
Marr considers such arguments hypocritical. “Why are they focused on trees, and why are they the only group opposing the new bylaw?” he asks.
Joseph Lin, executive director of the Taiwan Canadian Cultural Society, supports Marr’s work, but emphasizes the diversity of options among Chinese-Canadians.
Lin said Taiwanese people immigrate to Canada for two reasons: better education for their children and the quality of the environment, including trees on their properties.
Marr summed up his unique position in the environmental movement by saying, “Other than for the trees and animals, I want to make it known to society in general by my own example that not all Chinese people are tree cutters or animal parts users. And I believe that I speak for a significant sector of the Chinese-Canadian community.”
August 20, 1996, Tue.
I am a first generation Chinese Canadian, and very disturbed and perturbed with what is happening in Vancouver and environs. Like you, I am against the wanton destruction of trees and the use of animals parts for self-indulgence . . .
Also, I am upset that our mayor and city councilors choosing to succumb to the minority pressure of the so called Homeowners Association . . .
With what has been happening to this once-beautiful city, I do not feel proud being Chinese.
I am so glad that you came along (and just barely in time, Anthony) to represent those like myself . . .
Good luck to you in your outstanding work . . . You are OUR man! Go for it!
With much admiration
May Adams and family
August 21, 1996, Wed.
by Ethan Baron
Group seeks bear hunting ban
. . . “We’re focusing on bears and bears alone because of the recent huge escalation of poaching . . .,” said Anthony Marr, who is spearheading the referendum drive for Western Canada Wilderness Committee.
Ministry of Environment officials estimate that 850 Grizzlies and 7,350 Black bears live in the West Kootenay, said Bob Forbes, the ministry’s regional wildlife section head. . . .
But the ministry’s number are “highly inflated and don’t reflect the true number of bears,” said bear biologist Wayne McCrory, a Valhalla Society member who has performed extensive studies on bears for BC Parks and the Canadian Warden Service.
“They just use crude ways of estimating populations.”
In the West Kootenay last year, 646 hunters took to the woods, killing 25 Grizzlies (19 male and 6 female) and 197 Black bears (159 male and 38 female), said Bill Macpherson, environment ministry spokesman. . . .
Not everybody agrees that bears are in decline in BC.
“Bears are very, very difficult to inventory,” said John Holdstock, president of the BC Wildlife Federation, the province’s largest hunting lobby group. “All the empirical evidence indicates stable populations. If they’re trying to sell this as a conservation issue, they’re giving false information.”
Should the people of BC decide to ban bear hunting, the animals will be more vulnerable to poachers, Holdstock said. Hunters act as “eyes and ears” to prevent poaching, he said. . . .
He believes numbers of both Grizzlies and Black bears are “stable”. He acknowledged that “bear populations are affected by hunting,” but said, “the actual hunting mortality, the hunting level is well down on the list of problems for bears.” . . .
The Fortunate and The Called Upon
at your service
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
www.DearHomoSapiens.blogspot.com (AM's 3rd-book-in-the-making)