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Province bans grizzly trophy hunt

Make decisions on science, not emotion, says MLA Clovechok
Doug Clovechok is the MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke.

Effective Nov. 30, 2017, the British Columbia government will end grizzly bear trophy hunting throughout the province and stop all hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest, Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson announced Monday.

“By bringing trophy hunting of grizzlies to an end, we’re delivering on our commitment to British Columbians,” Donaldson said. “This action is supported by the vast majority of people across our province.

“In particular, we owe it to generations past and future to do all we can to protect the beauty and uniqueness of the Great Bear Rainforest. We believe the action we’re taking goes beyond the commitment to Coastal First Nations made as part of the 2016 Great Bear Rainforest agreements.”

There are an estimated 15,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia. Each year, approximately 250 are taken by hunters. While the trophy hunt will end, hunting for meat will be allowed to continue.

During the fall months, Donaldson said that government will consult with First Nations and stakeholder groups to determine next steps and mechanisms as B.C. moves toward ending the trophy hunt. Additionally, government will be moving forward with a broader consultation process on a renewed wildlife management strategy for the province.

“The key elements of that strategy will include dedicated funding for wildlife and habitat conservation and a collaborative process in developing short and long-term plans for wildlife resources,” Donaldson said.

Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok says that science is key, and any decision on the grizzly hunt should not be made to fulfill a political promise but should be based on the recommendation of biologists.

“It’s a sad day for conservation and I’m disappointed from a conservation perspective,” he said from Vancouver, Tuesday. “We had a meeting with stakeholders in Cranbrook prior to the election. We all came together and decided biology must drive these decisions. I don’t believe the Minister when he says the decision has broad support across the province. He is following up on a political promise.”

Clovechok says science says there is a healthy population of grizzly bears across the province.

“In any wildlife management, you must have predator control. You stop grizzly hunting, the population will increase. The big bears will push the little guys out of the high country and we will see them in Kimberley and Invermere and Golden. It’s a short sighted decision based on politics.”

He says he is supportive of the ban on the hunt in the Great Bear Rain Forest, but questions other parts of the “vague” announcement.

“You can harvest the meat, nothing else. Nobody eats grizzly meat, or certainly very few do. When you make a broad, sweeping decision like this, you need to be clear.”

“I recognize hunting as an integral part of our culture. I am a resident hunter myself. This is political pandering to a group of people who don’t hunt. You ban the grizzly hunt, what else is coming?”

The worst thing about the decision, he says, it that is based on emotion, not science.

Clovechok also reminds the NDP that the province is still burning, especially in the north.

“The people in the north, in the Cariboo, they need government support. But the Minister finds time to kick kick rural BC in the teeth with a hunting ban.”

Carolyn Grant

About the Author: Carolyn Grant

I have been with the Kimberley Bulletin since 2001 and have enjoyed every moment of it.
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