Photo credit: Bec Wonders

December 18th, 2017 marked a historic day for grizzly bears throughout British Columbia. The provincial government announced a complete ban on the grizzly hunt, closing loopholes that would have allowed trophy hunters to continue killing grizzlies under the guise of a “meat” hunt.

This announcement followed a decades-long battle by First Nations, conservationists and compassionate British Columbians to end the controversial hunt. Ethical, ecological and economic arguments against the practice created strong opposition to the trophy hunt, with polling data indicating that the vast majority of BC residents, both rural and urban dwelling, opposed the grizzly hunt. 

Grizzlies are hunted recreationally for trophy - for their hide, head or paws. Although it is frowned upon to shoot female grizzlies, it is very difficult to distinguish males from females. In fact, research has shown that one-third of reported kills by trophy hunters have been female. Shooting a fertile female is the equivalent of killing all the cubs she would have given birth to over the course of her life. For a species with one of the lowest reproduction rates of North American land mammals and whose population numbers are a point of debate, such behaviour is simply reckless. Economically, the grizzly hunt threatened a major revenue-generating and sustainable industry for the province. Eco-tourism attracts thousands of people to BC every year and creates jobs in communities where unemployment is high. Hunting fees and licenses also failed to cover the province’s management costs for the hunt, effectively forcing residents to subsidize a slaughter that the vast majority of them didn’t support. 

Wildlife Defence League (WDL) was founded on the mission of ending British Columbia’s grizzly bear hunt, and while we have also taken on other issues surrounding the exploitation of wildlife, we have worked tirelessly to end the practice that motivated us to start WDL in the first place. Through field campaigns, we’ve monitored, documented and exposed the hidden reality of the controversial grizzly bear trophy hunt - bringing it to the attention of not only the general public, but to elected officials responsible for wildlife management. Our advocacy efforts have helped empower the public in taking action to push for a complete ban on the grizzly hunt.

While the recently implemented ban protects upwards of 300 grizzlies a year from trophy hunters, there is still much work that needs to be done to address other threats facing the species, including habitat destruction. The Auditor General’s report, which examined the province’s management of grizzlies, recommended 10 steps the provincial government can take to ensure the survival of the species for generations to come. The provincial government accepted all of the Auditor General’s recommendations and WDL intends to hold the government accountable for implementing all of them. Sub-populations of grizzlies are endangered in parts of the province and their recovery depends on habitat protection measures that aren’t yet in place.

Please join us as we continue our efforts to help protect wildlife across British Columbia.


Take Action:

Contact the following decision-makers and call on them to support the implementation of the Auditor General’s ten recommendations for grizzly bear management and a larger renewed wildlife management strategy for all species across the province that is conservation-focused, transparent and science-based.

Your Member of the Legislative Assembly - https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members 

Premier John Horgan - premier@gov.bc.ca, PO BOX 9041 STN PROV GOVT VICTORIA, BC V8W 9E1. 

Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development, Doug Donaldson - FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca, PO Box 9049 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria BC, V8W 9E2

Minster of Environment & Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman - ENV.Minister@gov.bc.ca, PO Box 9047 Stn Prov Gov, Victoria, BC V8W 9E2