British Columbia

Coalition seeks to stop wildlife killing contests in British Columbia

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WDL joins a coalition of 54 environmental and animal protection groups, conservationists and scientists in calling on the government of British Columbia to put a stop to wildlife-killing contests, after learning about three such events currently taking place in the province.

In an open letter addressed to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Doug Donaldson, the signatories expressed significant concern about the existence of contests throughout the province that are encouraging the indiscriminate killing of animals including wolves, coyotes, cougars and racoons.

In some cases, participants receive points for the type of animal killed and are competing for a cash prize. The coalition is currently aware of three separate contests, the first is a “wolf-whacking contest” hosted by Chilcotin Guns in Williams Lake; the second is a “predator tournament” hosted by the Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club; and the third is a wolf bounty being offered by the West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club.

The coalition opposes these contests and argues they are not supported by science, nor are they ethical. While contest organizers claim their efforts are a “fun” way to protect ungulate populations by reducing predator populations, research shows that predator killing contests are ineffective and fail to address any root causes of decline. Instead, wildlife professionals suggest efforts should be invested in habitat protection and restoration.

The coalition also points to the widespread public support surrounding the ban on the grizzly bear trophy hunt, as well as the growing opposition to the province’s wolf cull program to suggest that the vast majority of British Columbians would also not support these predator killing contests.

These contests not only teach disrespect for wildlife through the indiscriminate killing of as many predators as possible for fun, but they also disregard the value of individual animals, both intrinsically and as a part of the larger ecosystem to which they belong.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources said in a statement that it doesn’t condone or encourage wildlife-killing contests but noted there are no rules that prevent them from being held so long as hunters are properly licensed and follow the laws. It’s our position that the government has the authority and responsibility to handle wildlife management and they permit what they condone and ban what they don’t. If they truly don’t condone these events then they should ban them.

We’re encouraging our supporters to contact the appropriate government officials and respectfully ask that predator-killing contests be banned. Contact information can be found below. You can also find contact information for your MLA and include them in your ask.

Hon. Doug Donaldson - Minster of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development

Email: FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca

Telephone: (250) 387-6240

Hon. George Heyman - Minister of Environment & Climate Change Strategy

E-mail: ENV.Minister@gov.bc.ca

Telephone: (250) 387-1187

Fish and Wildlife - Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development

Email: FishandWildlife@gov.bc.ca

Telephone: 1-877-855-3222

BC's fall trophy hunt has begun & May 9th, 2017 is our opportunity to end it

Photo: Bec Wonders

Photo: Bec Wonders

September 1st marks a dark day in British Columbia - the start of the province’s controversial fall grizzly bear hunt in many areas of the province. This widely opposed slaughter sees greed-driven trophy hunters setting out into BC’s wild places every spring and fall in search of a bear they can shoot and kill for nothing more than a trophy - a head to put on the wall, a rug for their floor and paws to prove their supposed prowess.

We have the BC Liberal government to thank for the continuation of this archaic and senseless slaughter. In 2001, the NDP government announced a three-year moratorium on grizzly bear hunting in BC. Sadly, this victory was short-lived. When the Liberals came into office a few months later, that moratorium was lifted and grizzlies were once again in the sights of sport hunters. Today, this Liberal Party legacy continues despite the lack of social license, science, economics and ethics.

The BC Liberals argue the hunt is sustainable, yet the very science behind this hunt is questioned by independent scientists, who state the province’s grizzly population numbers on which hunt quotas are based are flawed and overinflated. It’s also troubling to see the hunt described as sustainable given that a study published earlier this year by a government scientist found that a hunted population in the South Rockies has declined by about 40% between 2006-2013, under the government’s watchful eye.

Economically, there is the logical argument that a live bear is worth more to the province than a dead one - that same bear can be “shot” with a tourist’s camera, time and time again. Meanwhile, it’s been suggested that the revenue generated by grizzly trophy hunting fees and licences fails to even cover the province's management costs for the hunt, making it a poor economic decision as well.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is whether or not the practice of killing for sport aligns with our values as British Columbians. Polling over the years has reflected clear opposition to the trophy hunt, with the latest indicating that 91% of British Columbians, both rural and urban dwelling, condemn the practice.

This iconic species, the same one featured in the province’s “Super, Natural” tourism ads, has been the victim of government inaction for far too long. BC's fall trophy hunt has begun. May 9th, 2017 is our opportunity to end it. Our next premier needs to be a strong advocate for local economies and ethical, effective wildlife management.

TAKE ACTION:

We urge all British Columbians to contact their current MLAs, Premier Christy Clark (PREMIER@gov.bc.ca) & Leader of the Official Opposition/BC New Democrats John Horgan (john.horgan.MLA@leg.bc.ca) to tell them they will be voting for the party that commits to ending the trophy hunting of grizzly bears once and for all.

Learn more & support our work to end the trophy hunt!