Ending the sport hunting of grizzly bears
For over 10 years, Raincoast has been at the forefront of the campaign to end the grizzly hunt. While we’ve been successful in some areas, we have more to accomplish.
The ‘recreational’ killing of grizzly bears throughout most of British Columbia occurs for two months every spring and fall. The trophy hunting of coastal grizzlies is not so much a sport as a search and destroy mission by trophy hunters with militia-style mindsets employing aircraft, electronic aids, and transport to arrive on a river, walk up to bears and shoot them while they feed.
In 2001, after years of work, Raincoast achieved a three year moratorium on the provincial grizzly hunt only to have it overturned when Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government came to power later in the year. Clearly, we needed a different strategy.
Economics of the grizzly hunt
Our economic report Crossroads showed that by 2003, grizzly bear viewing was already generating twice the annual revenue of all the guide outfitting associated with the grizzly hunt. As part of the Crossroads strategy, we collaborated with coastal eco-tourism businesses to establish the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC. Download the report
Access to provincial kill data
Ten years ago (2000) Raincoast filed a Freedom of Information request with the province of BC to get the grizzly kill data (we wanted numbers, location and sex).
The ministry refused to hand it over. For five years Raincoast argued in the courts, and at every step the ruling was in Raincoast’s favour, first by the Information and Privacy Commissioner, then by the Supreme Court of BC, then the Appeals Court of BC, then back to the Information and Privacy Commissioner to get the data in electronic format.
It’s hard to believe, but “recreational hunting opportunities” are now bought and sold on the world’s largest on-line auction site, eBay.
In February 2009, Raincoast and our US partner Big Wildlife, approached eBay to request they end sales of carnivore (grizzly bear, black bear, wolf and cougar) sport hunting on their website, citing that such sales glorify and promote profound animal suffering for fun and profit.
Due to eBay’s hesitation, we met with them in California to present additional evidence of the ecological, evolutionary, economic and ethical arguments to stop trophy hunting. Further talks ensued.
On May 1, 2009 eBay announced they would continue their sale of trophy hunting, arguing that the activities “comply with applicable laws” and they only discontinue sales of items the public finds “offensive”. We urge you to contact eBay and add your voice to this debate.
To see a list of hunts that eBay offers go to: click here (N.B. these change with season, etc)
As the only permanent solution to stopping the trophy appeared to be literally buying out hunting licenses, Raincoast purchased a 24,000 sq km hunting territory in 2005. This initiative has saved dozens of grizzlies, black bears and wolves who would have been killed in the commercial trophy hunt. We are purchasing a new territory in 2010. Our ultimate goal is to control all commercial trophy hunting territories on the BC coast. Read more here to find out how you can help make this dream a reality.