A report by Grizzly Bear Foundation’s Board of Inquiry has warned that grizzly bears in British Columbia are likely to face dark days ahead with their long term survival threatened because of a number of reasons including the government-sanctioned trophy hunt.
The Board of Inquiry report, which is available here, contains 19 recommendations directed to all levels of government calling for serious steps that will not only secure the wilderness from encroachment by human activities, but also protect the bears’ food sources, and terminate the trophy hunt.
The report notes that the practice of trophy hunting is still being practised by a small minority of the British Columbia population, but mostly foreign hunters participate in higher numbers in this hunt. While the government continues to maintain that the hunt helps in maintaining a population of around 15,000 grizzly bears, the report raises a question whether the pain and suffering that the bears experience is worth it specifically when the revenue generated through the hunt is far less than what the grizzly-viewing tourism could bring in.
The report finds that vast majority of urban and rural population in British Columbia are in the favour of terminating the trophy hunt, especially as grizzly bear watching activities are flourishing and attracting a great many international tourists. Report also found that termination of the hunt is supported by most of British Columbia’s First Nations who have shared deep cultural and spiritual relationships with the bears for thousands of years.
Beyond the termination of the trophy hunt, the report notes that other steps also need to be taken swiftly. The report finds that grizzly bears face even greater threats from burgeoning human encroachment into their habitat, as well as the loss of essential foods including wild salmon and huckleberries.
“The cumulative impacts of habitat loss, insecure food sources, inadequate enforcement of wildlife laws, legal hunting, and the as yet uncertain impacts of climate change combine to present major challenges to the survival of the grizzly bears. Strong action is needed now to secure their future. How we achieve this will be judged by the world”, said Suzanne Veit, Victoria, retired British Columbia government deputy minister.