Conservation group buys hunting rights

A group adamantly opposed to trophy hunting of grizzly and black bears has bought the commercial hunting rights in a vast area of the Great Bear Rainforest.

by Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist

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The Raincoast Conservation Foundation now controls hunting in 28,000 square kilometres of the central coast and its latest acquisition of 3,500 square kilometres includes key areas around Princess Royal Island where there is the highest concentration of Kermode or spirit bears (black bears with white coats).

“This is the heart of spirit bear country,” said Chris Genovali, Raincoast executive director.

The aim is to help First Nations and other groups pursue economic opportunities offered by bear viewing, Genovali said.

“Ecological issues aside, the coastal trophy bear hunt cannot be justified from either an ethical or economic perspective,” he said.

The latest purchase of hunting rights from a guide outfitter comes on the heels of a declaration this week by coastal First Nations that they are banning trophy bear hunting in their traditional territories and that they plan to monitor and enforce that ban.

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jlavoie@timescolonist.com