Analysis: BC Liberal’s promised ban on grizzly hunting in Great Bear Rainforest met with skepticism

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“I don’t feel comfortable until we have something in writing,” said Doug Neasloss, chief of the Kitasoo/Xaixais band council. But he later also expressed optimism and relief: “This is long overdue,” he said. “The bear hunt is very important for us to end in the Great Bear Rainforest.

I’ve been on this file for the last 20 years, so I’m really proud that the Liberals have changed their position and are in talks to put it to an end. This is about more than the bear hunt. It’s about survival for remote communities; protecting the Great Bear Rainforest, and how we’re trying to save some of the industries like tourism that create jobs for the local community.”

“Some of our members operate in the Great Bear Rainforest and for them this ban, if and when it happens, could be good news,” said Julius Strauss, spokesman for the CBVA.

“Bear-viewing brings in more than ten times what grizzly hunting does and many operators are not in the Great Bear Rainforest, ” Strauss said in a statement to the Huffington Post.

Chris Genovali, the executive director of Raincoast Conservation Foundation pointed out that “the Liberals need to clarify whether their announcement applies to the entirety of the Great Bear Rainforest or only Coastal First Nations territory, as that is not exactly clear from the statement they put out yesterday.

Further adding to the confusion, Steve Thomson said in an interview that 11 bears are shot annually within the Great Bear Rainforest. However, according to Doug Neasloss, 12 grizzly bears are shot by trophy hunters from outside the province and 18 grizzlies by resident hunters, bringing the total to 30 grizzlies shot within the Great Bear Rainforest annually.

It was also unclear how the ban would be implemented as both the commercial guide outfitters as well as the BC Wildlife Federation would have to be involved.

One possible scenario could be for First Nations to buy out tenure licenses, currently owned by guide-outfitters, with help from Raincoast Conservation Foundation an organization that has been buying out grizzly hunting territories for several years now.

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