As part of its 2017 election platform, the New Democratic Party of British Columbia has pledged to ban all trophy hunting of grizzly bears in the province. Humane Society International/Canada is praising the new policy, and is calling on all major parties in the province to include similar policies in their platforms.
Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager with Humane Society International/Canada, said: “Should this policy be implemented, it would be a historic victory for grizzly bears in the province. Grizzlies are highly intelligent, social creatures that play an important role in maintaining balance in British Columbia’s ecosystems. Most of us have seen the videos of grizzly bears suffering at the hands of trophy hunters, and it’s heartening to know that more than 90 percent of BC residents—including Coastal First Nations—oppose this kind of cruelty. These majestic animals deserve our full protection, especially since they are already struggling to survive habitat disruption and loss. This is why it is imperative for all parties to get behind a grizzly hunt ban.”
John Horgan, New Democrat leader, said: “Almost half of Canada’s grizzlies are right here in BC, and these bears are worth far more to the province’s economy alive than dead. The NDP is proud to announce this new policy that will end trophy hunting of grizzlies across the province, and we are confident that the vast majority of BC residents will be just as proud to see it implemented.”
- After hunters shoot them, grizzly bears often suffer for hours before they die, sometimes with multiple wounds. Wounded grizzlies who are not found may end up suffering for much longer—potentially days, weeks or even years.
- Bears are highly vulnerable to population decline, given that half of bear cubs die within the first year. Roads, railroads and land use developments also make it difficult for adult males to find and mate with female bears.
- A 2013 scientific report found that trophy hunting may be causing declines in bear populations, and that hunters were exceeding government quotas in half of the populations studied.
- Further independent studies have found that government estimates of bear populations in BC are inaccurately high, and in reality populations are too low to sustain current hunting levels.
- BC has 57 grizzly population units, and nine of them are listed as threatened.
- A 2012 study by Center for Responsible Travel and Stanford University found that bear-viewing businesses in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest generated 12 times more visitor spending than bear hunting.