No longer will hunters be able to buy the right to kill this majestic apex predator.
The government of British Columbia has announced that it will ban grizzly bear trophy hunting throughout the province and all hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest. Effective November 30, 2017, the imminent ban means that nobody, resident or tourist, will be able to purchase a trophy hunting tag and kill a grizzly bear for the purpose of sport alone – a practice that currently takes about 250 bears per year, out of a total population of 15,000.
Public pressure has mounted in recent years to reconsider the role of trophy hunting. The vast majority of British Columbia’s residents oppose it, and a half-hour documentary film made last year and funded by Lush Cosmetics really pushed the issue into the spotlight. It’s been viewed more than 200,000 times and resulted in a petition of over 78,000 signatures that was presented to the provincial legislature in Victoria.
The real issue with trophy hunting is that it serves no other purpose than to kill. When trophy hunters come to B.C., many of them from the United States, they do not eat the grizzly bear meat; they only want a head, claws, and hide to display at home. Nor have these bears done anything to merit death; they are not nuisance animals endangering humans.
Says Carleen Pickard, a campaigner at Lush:
“With more than 90 percent of British Columbians opposed to trophy hunting, we’re relieved that these iconic species are going to be protected from senseless killing. The ban on trophy hunting of grizzly bears is a huge victory for bears, all those working to protect them and for a new era in B.C.’s image to the world. We believe that during the upcoming consultations, the government will hear that people want full protection for grizzly bears.”
The government says it will speak with First Nations groups and other stakeholders this fall. It has also promised a broader consultation process on a renewed wildlife management strategy for the province.
The ban is a sensible move for a province with a reputation for being fairly progressive on environmental issues. There is more money to be made, after all, from grizzly bear-viewing tours than from selling trophy-hunting tags, which currently brings in only $2 million per year.
You can watch Lush’s ‘Trophy’ film here. Although the film’s political purpose has been (happily) fulfilled, it’s still a worthwhile watch, offering an educational and fascinating glimpse into the life of wild animals that few know much about.