In the grizzly hunting debate, the B.C. legislature appears to be the last stronghold protecting the trophy hunting industry in our province. Economic, scientific, and social justifications for the practice don't add up. Ecotourism and bear viewing companies generate more revenue than their trigger-happy counterparts, and they are far more sustainable over the long term.
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.
How can I spend time in the company of these animals, get to know them as individuals, and allow them to become at ease in my presence... knowing that the very next day trophy hunters could arrive and kill them? How can I look into the eyes of a bear and witness the intelligence and personality looking back at me, and then abandon that creature to fate? That's when I decided to join in the fight.
Raincoast Conservation Foundation has asked the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the entity responsible for managing the trophy hunting of bears in the province, to investigate the killing of a grizzly on the central coast by National Hockey League player Clayton Stoner. As a result, the BC Conservation Officer Service is investigating Stoner's trophy killing of the grizzly bear in question.
Raincoast Conservation Foundation has now secured the commercial trophy hunting rights across a large portion of B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest. Coastal bears provide important services to the ecosystem. Killing them not only disrupts these processes but also potentially imperils populations. The very rare Spirit or Kermode Bear is a North American black bear living in the central and north coast of B.C. and it needs to be protected.