VANCOUVER, BC - Tomorrow morning, Tuesday, August 15, tourists and British Columbia residents sporting rifles and big game hunting permits will start their fall hunt for B.C. grizzly bears. The hunt opens first in the Peace River area, followed on September 1 with more openings along the coast.
This trophy hunt continues despite the NDP's pre-election promise to ban the practice.
Last year, a Board of Inquiry appointed by the Grizzly Bear Foundation launched public hearings in Cranbrook, Prince George, Fort Nelson, Prince Rupert, Vancouver and Victoria. They found that the long-term survival of grizzly bears in British Columbia is threatened from a loss of habitat and food sources, as well as the government-sanctioned trophy hunt. "Grizzly bears have lived in our province for at least 50,000 years," says Inquiry chairman Michael Audain. "But unless we take serious steps now to secure their wilderness home from encroachment by human activities and protect their food sources from the impact of climate change, the bears may disappear within a few decades."
"There is nothing wrong with hunting wildlife for food on a sustainable basis and, indeed, hunters have played an important role in conservation activities to maintain this opportunity. But it seems that the great majority of British Columbians no longer support hunters shooting grizzly bears just to mount their heads or pelts on a trophy wall. As a society, I believe that we have grown beyond that," says Inquiry member Stuart McLaughlin.
In early 2017, Michael Audain met with then-Opposition Leader John Horgan and advised that the Inquiry had four recommendations for the Provincial Government to consider:
Audain restated these points in a letter to Premier Horgan on July 20, 2017.
While grizzly hunting is still practiced by a small minority of the British Columbia population, as well as foreign hunters, the vast majority of urban and rural British Columbians would prefer to see the trophy hunt terminated, especially as grizzly bear-watching activities are flourishing and attracting a great many international tourists.
The abolition of the trophy hunt is also supported by most of British Columbia's First Nations who have shared deep cultural and spiritual relationships with the bears for thousands of years. As the First Nations gain control of their ancestral lands, the Inquiry anticipates that they will become more active in bear-viewing tourism given the potential this can have for employment opportunities.
To help fund its research and educational programs, the Grizzly Bear Foundation is hosting Night of the Grizzly on Saturday, September 16 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West. The dinner event aims to attract guests who will share the Foundation's concerns and donate to the long-term welfare of the grizzly. Auctions will be featured throughout the evening, plus a surprise celebrity musical guest to provide exclusive entertainment.
For tickets and information, please visit:
About Grizzly Bear Foundation
The Grizzly Bear Foundation, based in Vancouver, is Canada's only charity solely dedicated to the long-term welfare of grizzly bears. It supports the conservation and preservation of grizzly bears through education, research and public education.
Facebook: Grizzly Bear Fdn
Chantal Shah Raine Playfair
Grizzly Bear Foundation
Michael J. Audain
Photo by: Jim Lawrence, Kootenay Reflections