Commentary by Tommy Knowles
We chose to launch the Wildlife Defence League on April 1, 2014 to coincide with the spring trophy hunt in British Columbia. We formed in order to defend wildlife throughout the province from an unsustainable hunt.
Our mission and mandate are simple - conserve and defend the forests and their inhabitants, while upholding international law as recognized by the United Nations World Charter For Nature.
While attention has been given mainly to the grizzly bear, the black bear and the wolf in regards to trophy hunting, we plan to draw attention to the fact that bighorn sheep, mountain goat, cougar, lynx, bobcat and elk are also considered trophy animals.
Non-violent direct action is a frontline tool that has been utilized by social justice movements the world over and has proven invaluable. We plan to employ this tool in a fight that has pitted First Nations and conservationists against government and trophy hunters for years.
Operation Great Bear will be our first campaign to defend grizzly bears and wolves from the fall trophy hunt in 2014. We will expose, document and intervene when necessary against trophy hunters and poachers.
How irrational is it that we allow the hunting of an iconic species like the grizzly bear and the hunting of an animal that literally shapes the landscape it inhabits, the wolf, legal? Removing apex predators from the wild has dire effects on the surrounding ecosystem. Not to mention, the hunting of an animal for trophy is unethical, immoral and cowardly. Hunters pose with the carcass of their kill in a way that demonstrates their complete disrespect and lack of understanding for wild nature.
As famous conservationist and environmentalist David Brower once said, “Polite conservationists leave no mark save the scars upon the earth that could have been prevented had they stood their ground.” Come fall of 2014, the Wildlife Defence League will stand our ground in defence of the grizzly bear and the wolf. We will not compromise and we will not be silent.