In 2012, is a bear worth more living or shot dead?

Eco-adventure tourism one of the world’s fastest-growing industries

BY KEVIN J. SMITH, TIMES COLONIST SEPTEMBER 29, 2012
For a moment, I want you to put aside your feelings around trophy hunting of bears. (That is, killing bears for recreation, not for food.) Instead, I want you to think about the business case.
In 2012, is a bear worth more living or shot dead?
Eco-adventure tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the world’s travel economy. The B.C. government has identified it as a pillar of the province’s tourism strategy. In 2010, the estimated the world adventure travel market was $89 billion, with 10 per cent growth per year…
Anecdotes suggest there is more demand than capacity.
Contrast this with the steady decline in interest in hunting in North America, and declining support for killing bears for sport. When was the last time you met anybody that was planning a trophy-hunting holiday? What about someone buying a new camera for a trip that included wild life viewing?
Why not keep the hunt and bear-viewing?
First, where bears are shot, bear-viewing is bad, because the bears hide. No bear-viewing business can prosper there, because – like all businesses – tourism needs a degree of certainty to survive.
In contrast, when Raincoast Conservation Foundation bought a guide-outfitter territory, and the government enacted a couple of “management” areas, thereby ended the killing of grizzlies in those areas, we saw a resurgence in visible grizzly bears. Suddenly, many businesses could plan for bear-viewing there…
To read the full article please visit the Victoria Times Colonist website.

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