Weaver pans grizzly trophy hunting ban

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver says non-resident hunters will still be able to kill a grizzly bear, have their photo taken, and head home, even after the province announced it will end trophy hunting for the animal.

“I am encouraged that the B.C. NDP are respecting the wishes of the Coastal First Nations by placing a moratorium on the hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest,” said Weaver in a press release. “During the election campaign I pointed out that the B.C. NDP appeared to be trying to have their cake and eat it too when it came to the grizzly hunt. They told the hunting community one thing and the environmental community another.”

Yesterday’s announcement will not end grizzly bear hunting in B.C., as many environmental groups have advocated for. This year’s trophy hunt will still go ahead as the ban won’t take effect until November 30.

Weaver says the changes will create a system in which not all of the animal will be harvested – resident hunters will no longer be allowed to possess the hair, head and hide of grizzlies. This will be viewed as wasteful by the resident hunting community, he said.

In addition, Weaver says, foreign hunters will still be able to shoot grizzlies in British Columbia, take a picture of themselves standing over the dead beast, and head back home without harvesting any of the animal.

“I’m not sure how this will appease the concerns of anyone,” he said. “It appears to me that the NDP were trying to play to environmental voters in the election campaign without thinking through their policies. What we really need in BC is science-based approach to wildlife management, not a populist approach to species management.”

Weaver said there are a range of issues affecting the health of grizzly bear populations including the effects of climate change on salmon and huckleberry stocks, as well as road kill rates and poaching incidents. He says the province must focus on broader wildlife preservation if it is to get serious about conservation and the protection of grizzlies and other species in this province.

“B.C. and Alberta are the only provinces without Endangered Species legislation,” he said. “I will work with the government to ensure the introduction of species at risk legislation is advanced in the near future.”