The end of trophy hunting grizzlies is on the horizon in British Columbia, following an announcement from the government Monday afternoon. But serious questions remain about what will happen to the head, paws, and pelts of killed bears, and how it can possibly be enforced. The questions raised about population estimates through the last government’s own report, as well as concerns about monitoring and financing of research, were also not addressed in this announcement.
Grizzly hunting of all kinds will be prohibited within the Great Bear Rainforest, a decisive victory for the Coastal First Nations who have worked tirelessly on this issue. Outside of the Great Bear Rainforest, however, hunting of the bears will still be allowed.
While there is clear cause for celebration, it is alarming that the province has not addressed some of these critical issues regarding enforcement, population estimates, or sustainability, and have pointedly stated that the end of the trophy hunt has nothing to do with them.
“The purpose of the ban isn’t because the number of killings is unsustainable for the grizzly population, but largely in response to public opinion, [Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug] Donaldson said,” the Canadian Press reported.
By allowing the hunting of grizzlies to go on, but not allowing for the taking of traditional trophies (heads, paws, and pelts), little has been done to stop the “sport” hunting of the bears, as explained by Green Party Leader Dr. Andrew Weaver.
“Foreign hunters will still be able to shoot grizzlies in British Columbia, take a picture of themselves standing over the dead beast, and head back home without harvesting any of the animal,” he said in a statement. “I’m not sure how this will appease the concerns of anyone.”
The Fur-Bearers are continuing to monitor this situation, and in discussion with colleagues and other stakeholders. As more information becomes available, it will be shared through this blog, our podcast, and social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).
In the meantime, we ask residents of BC to write their MLA (non-residents can email the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development at FLNR.Minister@gov.b.ca) with some of the questions we’ve posed above, or to communicate that they appreciate this first step – and are looking forward to more protections for grizzlies.