Bears left out of the Great Bear Rainforest agreement

The province has still not recognized the ban on trophy hunting imposed by Coastal First Nations and will continue to issue tags to kill Grizzly bears and Black bears in all areas of the Great Bear Rainforest.

By Doug Neasloss, Brian Falconer, and Chris Genovali, Special to the Vancouver Sun

For those of you celebrating Premier Christy Clark’s announcement declaring “the end of commercial trophy hunting” in the Great Bear Rainforest, you can put away the champagne. While the announcement by the premier and Minister Steve Thomson essentially endorses the effort to buy out commercial trophy hunting businesses, undertaken by Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Coastal First Nations (CFN) several years ago, it commits no direct support, nor does it address trophy hunting by BC residents which accounts for 60% of the grizzly kill in the Great Bear Rainforest and in the rest of province.

The province has still not recognized the ban on trophy hunting imposed by CFN and will continue to issue tags to kill grizzly bears and black bears in all areas of the Great Bear Rainforest, including in some areas where the black bears carry the white “Spirit bear” gene. In addition, the B.C. government’s announcement regarding the commercial hunt is specifically applicable to CFN territory, which makes up approximately one third of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Yet Thomson’s comments, corrected later by ministry staff, initially gave the impression to the media and the public that commercial trophy hunting had been ended throughout the Great Bear Rainforest. “The agreement today as we announced retires the commercial hunt for grizzly bear for the Great Bear Rainforest,” he told reporters. “Protecting the species is the first principle and we will continue to manage the process elsewhere on a science-based approach to grizzly bear and wildlife management generally.”

Premier Clark, speaking at a press conference, said the agreements “include the end of the commercial grizzly hunt in Coastal First Nations traditional territory,” and later referred to ending the trophy hunt on the coast. Although her first statement was slightly more accurate, both neglected to tell the whole story.

Doug Neasloss is elected chief councillor of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation. Brian Falconer is the guide outfitter coordinator for Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Chris Genovali is Raincoast’s executive director.

A version of this article was first published at the Vancouver Sun,

To celebrate the end of the year, we are so happy to be able to offer matching campaigns on two of our most pressing fundraising initiatives.

All donations to both the Southern Great Bear Rainforest tenure acquisition and our KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest initiative, will be matched until the end of the year. This is a great opportunity for our supporters, like you, to make your impact go twice as far, while benefiting from tax deductions.

Help us secure KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest on S,DÁYES (Pender Island). Together with Pender Islands Conservancy, Raincoast is raising $2.18 million to purchase a 45 acre coastal property on the edge of the Salish Sea.

Safeguarding Coastal Carnivores in the Southern Great Bear Rainforest tenure. We are currently raising funds to stop commercial trophy hunting in more than a quarter of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.