BRITISH COLUMBIA

Grizzly Bear Shooting Video Reignites B.C. Hunting Debate

09/10/2015 02:39 EDT | Updated 09/10/2015 04:59 EDT
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An anti-hunting group is using a graphic video of a grizzly being shot to death to push the B.C. government to rethink its bear hunt.

The footage, posted to the Facebook page of Vancouver-based Wildlife Defence League captures a bear on a hillside being shot.

Wounded, it tries to escape and is shot a few more times. The dying animal's blood stains the snow as it finally rolls helplessly down the hill — to the excited cheers of the unidentified hunters.

WARNING: Video is graphic.

(WARNING: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE) - BC's grizzly hunt is horrific and 80% of residents want it banned. But as is often the case, the BC government ignores the scientific, economic, environmental and ethical arguments in support of such a ban. WDL has joined the fight to defend bears and other wildlife against trophy hunting and overhunting. Help us return to the field this fall, in defence of wildlife from exploitation like that seen in this video. Visit www.igg.me/at/WDL2015 to learn more and take action.

Posted by Wildlife Defence League on Monday, September 7, 2015


The Wildlife Defence League found the video on a hunter's Facebook page, according to the Globe and Mail. The group said it doesn't know where or when the video was filmed, but decided to share it publicly anyway.

"We want people to see that this is how grizzly hunting exists across the board, whether it's in British Columbia or not," the group said in an email to HuffPost B.C. "Trophy hunting of predators is unsustainable and unethical and we're hoping this footage puts forces the government to take note and move towards banning the hunt."

The video does not reflect responsible hunting, the past president of the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. told the Globe and Mail.

"They were making bad comments, they’re sensationalizing the suffering of an animal. We don’t endorse that. That’s not what we’re about, and I’m disappointed," Mark Werner said in an interview with the newspaper.

On average about 300 grizzlies are killed annually between the province's spring hunt, which runs April 1 to May 31, and the fall season, which starts Oct. 1 and continues until mid-November.

Biologists estimate there are about 15,000 grizzly bears in the province, which is home to about a quarter of the remaining North American population. Only Alaska has more grizzlies.

In 2014, 1,800 tags for bear kills were issued — up from 1,700 the previous year.

Though the B.C. minister of forests, lands and natural resources has said the current hunt is sustainable and "is managed based on sound science," groups opposed to the hunt say it's extremely difficult to get a proper count of grizzly bears.

Whatever the numbers, biologist Paul Paquet of the Raincoast Foundation has said the bigger question is a moral one.

"Is this ethical, to be hunting bears? That's really what's at issue," he said in 2014. "This is a trophy hunt, as opposed to a hunt for food."

In 2012, a coalition of 10 First Nations on B.C.'s north and central coast declared its own moratorium on trophy bear hunting in its territory — though difficult to enforce without the province supporting it.

With files from The Canadian Press

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