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April 1, 2010

Bear Trophy Hunt Opens in Great Bear Rainforest

Amid international condemnation, provincial government puts trophy hunters over public, Coastal First Nations

VANCOUVER, BC — A growing network of animal and environment protection groups, including Humane Society International/Canada and Pacific Wild, are condemning the opening of the trophy hunting season for grizzlies and black bears in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest Tuesday. The coalition of animal welfare organizations currently represents more than 20 million people worldwide.

"Right now, the BC government is allowing trophy hunters to invade the Great Bear Rainforest and gun down vulnerable grizzlies and black bears as they emerge from hibernation and forage for food," said Rebecca Aldworth, director of Humane Society International/Canada. "The provincial government needs to take immediate action to stop this shameful killing and protect the bears, the Great Bear Rainforest and BC's reputation."

"The BC government has received more than 100,000 emails and letters in recent weeks, urging them to cancel the 2010 trophy hunt in the Great Bear Rainforest," said Ian McAlister, director of Pacific Wild. "The BC government's authorization of the trophy hunt, against the will of Coastal First Nations and the public, will only strengthen our resolve to expand our campaign."

A 2009 poll conducted by Ipsos Reid shows fully 78 percent of BC residents stand united with Coastal First Nations (in whose territory the killing occurs) in opposing the trophy hunting of bears in the Great Bear Rainforest. Moreover, trophy hunting poses a direct economic threat to the rapidly growing wildlife viewing industry, which generates far more income for rural communities than trophy hunting.

To date, the BC government has put the desire of trophy hunters to kill vulnerable grizzlies and black bears for entertainment over public will, sound economics and common sense. The controversial decision to allow the trophy hunt to proceed today will almost certainly increase international condemnation of the BC government and its approach to wildlife management.

Facts:

  • The Great Bear Rainforest, located on the BC central and north coast, contains the largest tracts of intact old-growth temperate rainforest on earth.
  • Each spring and fall season, the government of British Columbia allows trophy hunters, both local and foreign, to kill bears in the Great Bear Rainforest.
  • Of the 430 grizzlies killed in 2007 in BC, 87 percent were killed by trophy hunters.
  • Bear viewing is far more lucrative than bear hunting in BC. One bear viewing lodge in Knight Inlet alone generates more revenue than the all grizzly bear hunting in BC.

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Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International — one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than eleven million members and constituents globally. On the web at hsicanada.ca.

Pacific Wild is a BC-based non-profit society dedicated to wilderness and wildlife conservation. We work in partnership with a diverse group of organizations and individuals working to achieve lasting environmental protection. Pacific Wild founders and staff have been working on marine and terrestrial environmental campaigns in British Columbia for two decades.

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