Demand That the Canadian Government Protect Rare Bears

Target: Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper and Canadian Minister of the Environment Peter Kent

Goal: Save British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest from an encroaching oil pipeline

Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada is under threat right now. The Northern Gateway pipeline, which is bound for the Athabasca Oil Sands farther to the northeast, is on a collision course for the world’s most expansive temperate coastal rainforest and if allowed to go on as planned could wreak untold damage to it. The Northern Gateway pipeline, which the Canadian government has signed off on, will tear through thousands of acres of untouched wilderness, including the Rocky Mountains.

It is bad enough that the pipeline would smash through the heart of the forest, but the company building the pipeline, Enbridge, hardly has a sterling reputation. Over the past 13 years, Enbridge pipelines have had over 800 oil spills. These spills have resulted not just in the loss of hundreds of thousands barrels of crude oil, but have had an unimaginable impact on local environments.

Given Enbridge’s history it is all but certain that there will be an oil spill, and all of the pristine environments that the pipeline goes through will be irreparably sullied. An oil spill would decimate local salmon stocks and other wildlife, not to mention the effect it would have on the local population.

One species that would be hit the hardest would be the Kermode, or spirit bear, a rare subspecies of black bear with a cream colored coat. These rare and majestic creatures, which have played a major role in Native American and First Nations cultures, have a limited habitat and British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest is at the heart of that. There are perhaps has few as 400 (other estimates go as high as 1000), of these bears left in the wild, and if the Northern Gateway pipeline is allowed to go through Great Bear Rainforest than that number will be reduced to but a fraction. Urge the Canadian government to protect spirit bears and their fragile habitat by rerouting the pipeline today.


Dear Prime Minister Harper and Minister of the Environment Kent,

You have already approved the plans for the Northern Gateway pipeline, and for drilling at the Athabasca Oil Sands. However, the plans for the pipeline must be rethought. As they are now, the pipeline will go directly through British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. Great Bear Rainforest represents some of the most pristine wilderness in North America and an oil pipeline would be a terrible scar upon its face.

The Northern Gateway pipeline will go directly through the Rocky Mountains, a symbol of British Columbia, Canada, and the United States. This region that you plan on building a pipeline in is also one of the only habitats of the Kermode bear, or spirit bear. Estimates say that there are as few as 400 Kermode bears left in the wild, for them to lose any habitat would be tantamount to a death sentence. These bears have played a crucial role in the cultures and traditions of your First Nations people; the death of the bears would be a grievous loss for their cultures.

However, perhaps neither the environmental impacts or the potential loss of the Kermode bear would be such serious threats if it were not for the company building and operating the pipeline; Enbridge. Enbridge has one of the worst records of any oil company, openly admitting to being responsible for over 800 oil spills since 1999. If there is one thing that the Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, or Canada does not need it is an oil spill. The damages to local inhabitants, wildlife, and the environment would be far great, and could potentially lead to the Kermode bear being lost forever.

Please reconsider your plans for the Northern Gateway pipeline. Consider finding an alternative route for the pipeline, or perhaps a company other than Enbridge to be responsible for it. Do it for the Rocky Mountains. Do it for British Columbia. Do it for the Spirit Bear.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: miguelb via flickr

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  1. Daniela Bress says:

    Wolves, bears, elephants, rhinos, tigers, seals, whales, foxes, deers, horses, mountain lions, polar bears, dolphins, reefs, bats, bees, coyotes, …

    There are irreparable crimes against nature and wildlife man is doing just for greed, idleness and short-termed profit.

    Will we ever learn?

    It seems as we’re not going to.

    “Man is a blind who dreams of the ability to see.” (Friedrich Hebbel)

  2. Fran Fulwiler says:

    Mr. Harper, why do you consider profits to an energy company with a deplorable safety record to be of more importance than the irreplaceable Great Bear Rainforest and its rare and unique Kermode bears?

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