Sidney, BC – After two years of fundraising, Raincoast Conservation Foundation has secured the funds to purchase the Southern Great Bear commercial trophy hunting tenure – which covers more than a quarter of the Great Bear Rainforest (18,239 km2).
Raincoast successfully completed raising the funds, at the very end of 2023, for a total of $1,920,000.
The purchase of the Southern Great Bear Rainforest tenure gives Raincoast the exclusive commercial trophy hunting rights in the region. Now, Raincoast is the largest tenure holder in the province, with six tenures totalling over 56,000km2.
Raincoast has been purchasing hunting rights in order to protect wildlife since 2005, and since then has purchased five other tenures. We began purchasing the tenures when it was clear a different solution to the vagaries of political agendas was needed. Despite our campaign success in 2001, which achieved a province-wide moratorium on grizzly hunting, the trophy hunt moratorium was overturned by a subsequent government following a provincial election.
“As I look back on the accomplishments of this project, it feels really good to reflect on the thousands of individual animals over many generations who are alive today because of it. It also feels very rewarding to reflect on the profound effect it has had in building healthy diverse coastal ecosystems,” shared Brian Falconer, Raincoast’s Guide Outfitter Coordinator.
“We purchase these tenures with a more sustainable economy in mind – wildlife viewing and ecotourism. Within the Southern Great Bear tenure alone, there are more than 19 ecotourism operations that have established businesses which rely on wildlife viewing. The acquisition of these tenures has given substantial support to this sector, which will be an important component of transitioning to a new, non-extractive economy,”said Chris Genovali, executive director of Raincoast.
A Stanford University study conducted in 2014 in the Great Bear Rainforest found that grizzly bear viewing produced 12 times the revenue, employed 27 times more people, and generated 11 times more economic benefits than bear hunting. Bear viewing has continued to grow exponentially since then.
“For the last 18 years I’ve been honoured to be a part of this project. Each year I have had the privilege of guiding people in these magnificent landscapes. Whenever I am gifted with viewing a family of grizzly bears, or an extended family of wolves, I’m grateful and proud that they are living out their lives,” added Falconer.