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Here's a letter from my MLA defending the cruel practice of trophy hunting in B.C.

Here's a letter from my MLA defending the cruel practice of trophy hunting in B.C. 

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  • Drawing an artificial divide between bear viewing and bear hunting. Both activities have existed concurrently for many years without difficulty. Bear hunting utilizes relatively few bears, but generates roughly $13,000 per hunter based on CREST’s estimates in Table 1.
  • Proposing that the administrative apparatus overseeing bear hunting is overly complex and that the ministry does not adequately track bear harvest mortalities in the Great Bear Rainforest. In fact, grizzly bear kill locations are mapped, and the black bear harvest is tracked through Management Units (MUs), which are much smaller geographic areas than the Great Bear Rainforest. This was explained to CREST researchers on numerous occasions without success.
  • Assuming that revenues lost from resident hunting would automatically generate economic activity elsewhere.
  • Inaccurate reporting on participation in hunting. The report states that there were 160,000 resident hunters in 2003 and that hunting is declining. In 2003 there were actually 81,736 hunters and hunting is on the rise. From 2005/06 to 2012/13 hunter numbers increased from 85,633 hunters to 97,828 hunters.

Ministry biologists consult with a wide range of stakeholders and the general public to ensure effective and sustainable management of the province’s wildlife resources. While there are strongly differing beliefs and values on the management of grizzly bear populations, creating an artificial divide between the bear viewing and bear hunting industries is not in the best economic interests of B.C. residents.

The grizzly bear harvest is based on the best available science. The principles behind our decisions are: a reliable population estimate; estimates of sustainable human-caused mortality rates; and deliberately conservative mortality limits.

Approximately 35 per cent of British Columbia is closed to grizzly hunting. Within the traditional territories of the Coastal First Nations, approximately 58 per cent is closed to grizzly hunting. In spring 2009, government created three new grizzly bear Management Areas in the Great Bear Rainforest, totaling 1.16 million hectares, 470,000 of which were previously open for hunting. These include the Khutzamateen, Ahnuhati and Nass-Skeena areas.

Historically, hunters have taken around 300 grizzly bears a year out of an estimated population of 15,000, or a two per cent harvest rate. Every harvested grizzly bear is tracked by the ministry by specific kill location.

Black bears are abundant in the province and their population, estimated at 120,000 to 160,000, is not at risk either provincially, or more specifically within the Great Bear Rainforest. The harvest rate for black bears in the province is approximately three per cent, which is well below the sustainability level.

In addition, the hunting of white-phase black bears is prohibited in all areas of British Columbia. In order to protect the black bear population that most commonly carries the Kermode gene, 122,000 hectares of coastal B.C. is banned to black bear hunting of any kind. In other areas of the Great Bear Rainforest, black bear hunting is permitted subject to a harvest limit of two bears per hunter per year, which is well within conservation requirements.

These measures ensure that neither the Kermode, nor its genetic stock is under any threat as a result of hunting activity.

Thank you,

Hon. Andrew Wilkinson
MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena

Sources (used by Hamish Stewart):

[1] Centre for Responsible Travel (2014) ‘Economic Impact of Bear Viewing and Bear Hunting in The Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia,’ online: http://www.responsibletravel.org/projects/documents/Economic_Impact_of_Bear_Viewing_and_Bear_Hunting_in_GBR_of_BC.pdf, at 15.

[2] Id., at 12.

[3] Management of Grizzlies in British Columbia: a review by an independent scientific panel (2003), online: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/documents/gbear_finalspr.pdf.

[4] Video showing grizzly bear getting shot multiple times during hunt sparks debate (9 Sept. 2015), online: http://globalnews.ca/news/2210949/warning-graphic-content-video-showing-grizzly-bear-getting-shot-multiple-times-during-hunt-sparks-debate/

[5] Figures from Destination British Columbia ‘Research by Market,’ online: http://www.destinationbc.ca/Research/Research-by-Market.aspx.

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