BEAR-VIEWERS WANT BAN ON HUNTING GRIZZLY BEARS THROUGHOUT BC IN LINE WITH WISHES OF BC RESIDENTS
PRESS RELEASE 12 April 2017
From: Political Committee, Commercial Bear Viewing Association
Bear-viewing operators in BC are calling for an end to the trophy hunting of grizzly bears throughout the province, in response to an announcement by the BC Liberals that they will "work towards" closing grizzly hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest, if re-elected on May 9th.
"The policy announced, even if fully enacted, would save around 20 grizzly bears a year out of 250-300 shot by trophy hunters and, while we would welcome that, it represents a drop in the bucket from a provincial point of view," said Julius Strauss, Chairperson of the Political Committee of the Commercial Bear Viewing Assoc.
Polls show that more than 90 per cent of BC residents oppose the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in the province.
Furthermore a recent poll by Insights West, which measured attitudes towards grizzly hunting in the interior, found that three in four British Columbians in rural areas also oppose the trophy hunting of grizzly bears.
Bear-viewing in British Columbia has become a major eco-tourism revenue generator in recent years. Surveys show it brings in approximately 10 times as much as grizzly bear hunting to the province. In 2015 bear-viewing in BC brought in $13.1m in direct revenues.
But with most parts of BC where there are grizzly bears given over to hunting, the sector has found itself unable to expand outside a few small areas.
As well as a strong economic argument for the ending the hunt, there are also major conservation concerns around grizzly bears.
A comprehensive study by the Grizzly Bear Foundation, a Vancouver-based charity, recently concluded that all grizzly hunting should be banned in BC because of the uncertainty over population numbers and how grizzly bears will deal with climate change, increased access into the backcountry, and other unknowns.
"Some of our members operate in the Great Bear Rainforest and for them this ban, if and when it happens, could be good news," Strauss said. "But many bear-viewing companies are in other areas of the province."
"From a BC grizzly bear's perspective the chance that this policy change will save you from a trophy hunter's bullet is very small."