VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Guide Outfitters Association of BC says that politics beat science in the NDP government’s announcement on Monday that all hunting of grizzly bears in B.C. has been banned.
In a release, the Association pointed to two independent scientific reviews which confirmed that the 15,000 grizzly bears in B.C. are well-managed. According to the Association, strict hunting regulations that have been in place since 1976 have kept the grizzly harvest rate at around at two percent, which is below the maximum sustainable harvest rate of six percent.
The Association said that approximately 100 outfitting businesses will be negatively impacted by this decision and that many of those will not be able to survive the financial loss. In a report released in October, Auditor General Carol Bellringer stated, “The greatest threat to grizzly bears is not hunting, but rather, human activities that degrade grizzly habitat.”
The Guide Outfitters quoted Forestry Minister Doug Donaldson on the subject of a possible ban two months prior to Bellringer’s report that, “It’s not about the numbers. It’s a matter of society has come to the point in B.C. where they are no longer in favour of the grizzly bear trophy hunt.”
“It is truly disappointing that we throw history and science out the window,” says Michael Schneider, president of the GOABC. “We expect our government to make informed decisions for wildlife conservation based on the best facts and best available science. Emotional decisions have a great risk of unintended consequences.”