Prompted by the David Suzuki Foundation, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria and the Hakai Institute, B.C.’s auditor general will be investigating the controversial grizzly bear trophy hunt to see if the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources is properly managing the species.
The audit will look into the government’s targets for how many grizzlies can be killed annually, which the province says is 6% for all human-caused mortalities. Opponents argue that this number is being exceeded, as is the case 26% of the time for female grizzlies. Certain populations have been hit harder than others, including bears in the South Rockies, which a recent study determined have seen a 40% decline between 2006 and 2013. Overall, the species has been extirpated from roughly 18% of their original habitat across the province and at least 9 sub-populations are currently facing extirpation.
The province’s auditor general stated they plan to complete the audit by the spring of 2017. WDL is hopeful the audit will uncover and act on what we and many other conservation organizations and British Columbians already know, which is that the grizzly hunt is based on unsound science and threatens this iconic and ecologically-significant species.
Unfortunately though, the battle to protect BC’s grizzlies continues, as another announcement impacting the species was made, this time from the BC Wildlife Federation. They stated that based on talks with provincial officials, a regulation is set to be adopted later this year that will require hunters to remove grizzly carcasses from the field.
This ‘pack it out’ policy is extremely misguided and not only fails to address the main issue with the grizzly hunt, which is that it is for trophy and not food, but also falls short of addressing the concerns of 95% of BC residents who oppose killing animals for sport. This potential regulation fails miserably to protect grizzlies in any tangible or meaningful way, as it will not deter those who target grizzlies for trophy and instead creates a false justification for the hunt.
WDL is strongly encouraging our supporters to contact Premier Christy Clark (PREMIER@gov.bc.ca), Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, Steve Thomson (FLNR.firstname.lastname@example.org) and their MLA to let them know this potential regulation is unacceptable. With an election around the corner, it is time our elected officials heed the concerns of the vast majority of British Columbians who do not support killing for a trophy in any shape or form.