Groups want bear hunting banned in the Great Bear Rainforest
BC Aboriginal groups and animals rights groups stood together today and announced that they want the BC government to ban the trophy hunting of bears on the coast, known as the Great Bear Rainforest. The Aboriginal groups said that the hunting of bears for sport goes against their culture and their plans to develop sustainable tourism, including the activity of bear watching.
Bear hunting can take place in front of tourists and they want this killing to stop. The next bear hunt begins on April 1st and Bruce Passmore of the Humane Society of Canada says they want the ruling to be changed before then. He said:
“We’re not at that point yet. I really think the government will make the right decision.”
Environment Minister Barry Penner said a ban on bear hunting was not part of a lengthy land-use and conservancy plan for the central and north coast that involved native groups.
“I understand there are a range of views. We’re working hard to find an appropriate balance.”
BC currently has about 16,000 grizzlies and about 80,000 to 100,000 black bears.
However, the Guide Outfitters Association of BC says that the bear hunt helps control the numbers; about 365 grizzlies were killed in 2007 and about 4,500 black bears are shot as well.
An Ipsos Reid poll showed that 78 percent of BC residents oppose trophy bear hunting.
The Wildlife Act requires hunters who kill black bears to remove the meat from the bush, but there is no such requirement for grizzly meat. Art Sterritt of Coastal First Nations said he has seen no evidence of trophy hunters killing bears for food.
“Our elders have seen carcasses of bears floating down rivers denuded of their hides and heads and paws.”