Opening of fall grizzly bear hunt met by opposition from conservationists
For Immediate Release: Friday, September 3, 2004
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - The recreational killing of grizzly bears throughout BC begins again this month. Of particular concern is the impact trophy hunting is having on grizzly populations in the Great Bear Rainforest on BC’s central and north coasts. In response, the Raincoast Conservation Society and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee have launched public outreach initiatives to alert the public that the killing of grizzly bears for sport continues in BC. These efforts include Raincoast’s video ad on the hunt currently running on the 300 square foot “jumbotron” at the Vancouver PNE and the Wilderness Committee’s distribution of over 10,000 grizzly hunt postcards to their members and supporters.
“The sport hunting of coastal grizzlies is not much of a ‘sport’ as it consists of blowing away bears at their two main feeding grounds – estuaries and salmon spawning streams. There they will be shot from blinds and boats so that trophy hunters can have their fun,” said Chris Genovali, Executive Director of Raincoast Conservation Society. “As a measure of the Liberal government’s fanatical support of killing bears, Premier Gordon Campbell is also planning to allow grizzly hunting throughout all of the new parks and protected areas on the central and north coasts.”
According to wildlife scientists Dr. Brian Horejsi, Dr. Barrie Gilbert and Dr. Lance Craighead, the coastal grizzly hunt resembles a “search and destroy mission” with recreational hunters employing aircraft, electronic aids, and motorized transport along rivers and logging roads. Drs. Horejsi, Gilbert and Craighead point out that guide outfitters and resident hunters charter float planes, fly along the coast, land at road staging areas, and drive roads or take boats up rivers; some use permanent, illegal, elevated stands overlooking salmon spawning sites.
“Democratic governments can ignore the wishes of the electorate for only so long,” said Gwen Barlee, Policy Director of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. “I believe if enough British Columbians mail in the grizzly hunt cards to the Premier explaining where they stand on this issue, we can put an end to the BC grizzly hunt once and for all”.
Chris Genovali, Raincoast Conservation Society 250-888-3579
Gwen Barlee, Western Canada Wilderness Committee, 604-683-8220