Province didn’t consult professional biologists in developing wildlife agency

Province didn’t consult professional biologists in developing wildlife agency

If you want to know how much money you have in the bank, and where a good place to invest it may be, you don’t call a shopaholic, you call the bank. But it seems that the government of British Columbia wasn’t interested in what a professional association of biologists had to think about wildlife management when they set up the basis for a new agency earlier this year.

The plan for a hunter and trapper funded wildlife management hit the news cycle prior to the spring election, and little was said beyond a single press conference, hosted by then-MLA Bill Bennett and representatives of the province’s hunting and trapping communities. In addition to snubbing wildlife non-profits like The Fur-Bearers, and naturalist clubs like BC Nature, it seems those responsible for assembling the basic concept of this agency-to-be also ignored the people who can tell them what the science they claim to want to follow says.

“As the new leadership forming government in BC, the Association of Professional Biology is reaching out to you regarding our concerns that we were neither informed nor consulted regarding the province’s proposed new stand-alone wildlife management agency,” reads a letter by the group that represents applied biology professionals in the province. “It is important that modern science guides wildlife management decisions and is utilized in the evaluation, improvement, understanding, and objective accountability of the success or failure of policies and measures taken.”

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The statements by the APB are akin to those of non-profits, businesses, and naturalists who have spoken out against the proposed agency.

“The success of a new provincial wildlife management agency will depend on its ability to represent the diversity of values that our society holds for wildlife, which include inherent values independent of human use,” the letter continues. “Wildlife management is complex, because wildlife represents diverse values to people, and because species and ecosystems are dynamic. Yet the proposed agency does not appear to have any mandate to address the health and management of the ecosystems that BC’s wildlife depends on, or the management for Species at Risk. Rather, its mandate appears to be the exclusive management of big game and fur-bearing species – wildlife that is harvested to generate revenue for the province and special interests.”

The Fur-Bearers ask that you contact your MLA (click here to find them if you’re a resident of BC) and the Premier’s Office (if you’re not a resident of BC, this is who you can write and tell them you oppose this agency. You can read our open letter to the government by clicking here.

Wildlife should be managed by science, with the oversight of elected officials who are accountable to the public – and we need to make sure the government of British Columbia knows that.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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