A Victory for Grizzly Bears in British Columbia

Photo credit: Simon Ager

Photo credit: Simon Ager

The decades-long battle to protect grizzly bears from trophy hunting in British Columbia has officially been won. Today, the BC NDP announced a complete ban on the hunt, closing loopholes that would have allowed trophy hunters to continue killing grizzlies under the guise of a “meat” hunt.

For far too long, this magnificent species has been pursued and slaughtered by resident and non-resident hunters for nothing more than a trophy. Justification for the hunt has crumbled over the years, as First Nations and conservationists exposed the ethical, economic and sustainability issues associated with killing grizzlies for sport. The majority of residents in the province oppose the hunt, with recent polling suggesting 91% disapprove.

Simply put, the social license for hunting grizzly bears no longer exists. 

This announcement follows a hard-fought campaign by Coastal First Nations, Bears Forever, Pacific Wild, the David Suzuki Foundation, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Commercial Bear Viewing Association, Bears Matter, Justice for BC Grizzlies, Grizzly Bear Foundation, Humane Society International/Canada, Wildlife Defence League and many other groups and individuals. To all of our incredible supporters who donated, wrote letters and participated in our Trophy Free BC campaign – thank you!

We’d like to especially thank Lush Cosmetics North America and Patagonia for believing in our work enough to provide grants that help fund our field campaigns and for the incredible support that their stores and employees provided.

While today’s announcement protects upwards of 400 grizzlies a year from trophy hunters, it’s important we continue to advocate for the protection of the species, especially from the threat of habitat destruction. The Auditor General’s report, released in the fall recommended 10 steps the provincial government can take to ensure the survival of grizzly bears for generations to come. The BC NDP chose to adopt all 10 recommendations but it’s up to us to hold them to their word. Sub-populations of grizzlies are endangered in parts of the province and their recovery depends heavily on habitat-protection measures that currently aren’t in place.

As Aldo Leopold so eloquently said, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

Wildlife Defence League is committed to advocating for and taking action to protect critical habitat for grizzly bears, endangered mountain caribou, wolverines and other species. Donations help us continue this important work. Support our efforts today!