The agreement between government, industry, First Nations and environmental groups to protect much of the Great Bear Rainforest should be celebrated. However, while the agreement helps protect grizzly bear and other wildlife habitat, it doesn't protect the bears themselves, contrary to B.C. Premier Christy Clark's claims at a news conference.
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.
A beloved animal, tagged for tracking by researchers, crosses the invisible boundary between protected and unprotected area and is killed by a hunter who has paid tens of thousands of dollars for the "experience." That was the fate of Zimbabwe's Cecil the lion, whose killing sparked torrents of online and on-air outrage. But it also happens around the world every day, including in my home province of B.C. It's time to end trophy hunting. In B.C., the government must listen to citizens and conservationists, respect First Nations laws and customs and end the grizzly 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.
We want these bears dead. This is the message the B.C. government's "reallocation policy" sends across the country. This policy is also preventing the implementation of an innovative solution to end the commercial trophy hunting of grizzlies and other large carnivores throughout B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest.