HSI/Canada, Pacific Wild, and middle school students unite to protect wildlife in the lead-up to the provincial election.

Jim Lawrence, Kootenay Reflections Photography. http://kootenayreflections.com/
Jim Lawrence, Kootenay Reflections Photography. http://kootenayreflections.com/

Humane Society International/Canada, Pacific Wild, and middle school students from Glenlyon Norfolk school are calling on the BC government to implement a complete ban on the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in British Columbia, and to implement an immediate moratorium before the hunting season.

Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager for HSI/Canada, said, “One can only imagine the pain and terror that a grizzly bear experiences in the course of a trophy hunt. Worse off still are the wounded bears hunters never track down—they end up suffering for days, weeks, or even years from their injuries. We are calling on the BC government to implement a moratorium on slaughtering grizzlies for trophies before the hunting season starts on April 1, and to then develop regulations to enact a permanent ban.”

Glenlyon Norfolk School students Marisa Smith, Giulia Giommi, and Lily Wieczorek, accompanied by teacher Margaret McCullough, gave statements at a press conference held earlier today. McCullough said, “The students, like many other BC students, are afraid that they will grow up without wildlife as they see more and more species being pushed towards extinction. These three students committed to doing something to stop this, and focused on bears as they are at the top of the food chain. They understand that learning to co-exist with top carnivores will ensure that entire ecosystems are protected.”

Ian McAllister, cofounder of Pacific Wild, added, “The students of Glenlyon Norfolk raise compelling points in their opposition to the grizzly bear trophy hunt and they join over 90 per cent of British Columbians who want to see the archaic practice banned. These students represent BC’s future, and a society that hopefully will respect wildlife—not one that supports the legal killing of our most iconic wildlife for trophy or as a so-called sport.”

The vast majority of British Columbians – including Coastal First Nations and other residents in rural areas – are opposed to trophy hunting of grizzly bears, and at least nine of the province’s 57 grizzly bear populations are threatened. Urgent action must be taken to end this cruel and ecologically irresponsible trophy hunt.

All Canadians can call on the BC government to ban trophy hunting of grizzlies through these online actions: www.hsicanada.ca/protectbears and http://pacificwild.org/take-action/campaigns/stop-the-trophy-hunt.

After hunters shoot them, grizzly bears often suffer for hours before they die, sometimes with multiple wounds.

Bears are highly vulnerable to population decline, given that half of bear cubs die within the first year. Roads, railroads, and land use developments also make it difficult for adult males to find and mate with female bears.

A 2013 study published in the Public Library of Science found that trophy hunting may be causing declines in bear populations, and that hunters were exceeding government quotas in half of the populations studied.

Further independent studies have found that government estimates of bear populations in BC are inaccurately high, and in reality, populations are too low to sustain current hunting levels.

A 2012 study by Center for Responsible Travel and Stanford University found that bear-viewing businesses in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest generated 12 times more visitor spending than bear hunting.

The above bear’s name was Apple. Apple was a well adjusted ‘ambassador’ grizzly who for 12 or more years thrilled folks that had the fortune of observing her move about her territory.

One day Apple wandered into view of a grizzly bear trophy hunter. Having a ticket to kill, the hunter took the life of this beautiful animal. At the time of her death Apple was in her prime with two young cubs. For a short while after the killing the cubs were seen wandering aimlessly, and soon they too were gone. Throughout much of BC, this scenario will play out again and again—the springtime grizzly killing season opened April 1. By year’s end government statistic indicate 100 female and 200 male grizzlies will have been gunned down. Vote in the coming election and let your candidates know this is not the ‘Super Natural BC’ the people of BC want.

~ Jim Lawrence, Kootenay Reflections Photography


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