Raincoast is purchasing commercial trophy hunting rights in a huge area of the Great Bear Rainforest

Raincoast Conservation Foundation’s sixth tenure acquisition will end commercial trophy hunting in an additional 18,239 square kilometres of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Wolf walking on a beach.
Photo by Steve Woods.

Sidney, BC: Raincoast Conservation Foundation is raising $1.92 million to purchase the commercial trophy hunting license that covers over a quarter of the Great Bear Rainforest spanning 18,239km2. Raincoast currently already holds the hunting rights in over 38,000 km2 of the BC coast – an area larger than Vancouver Island or the entire country of Belgium. Purchasing this tenure (our 6th) protects dozens of species from being commercially trophy hunted as it gives Raincoast the exclusive rights to commercially guide trophy hunters in perpetuity – a strategy that Raincoast has been using since 2005.

“The acquisition of this huge tenure will support a vibrant and growing wildlife viewing industry. And it will protect generations of wildlife forever.” said Brian Falconer, Raincoast’s Guide Outfitter Coordinator, “This is part of a just transition to a new economy.”

The region is home to significant populations of grizzlies, black bears, cougars, wolves, and Roosevelt elk. It contains six major coastal inlets, over 10 major river systems with critical estuaries, and countless smaller named and unnamed watersheds that support healthy ecosystems – from Smith Inlet to Toba Inlet. This acquisition exemplifies and supports a non-extractive conservation economy, as there are more than 19 ecotourism companies within this tenure who rely on respectful wildlife viewing.

Raincoast began purchasing hunting tenures back in 2005, developing an innovative  solution to ensure further protection of large carnivores. Despite  achieving a province-wide moratorium on grizzly hunting 20 years ago, the trophy hunt ban was overturned by a subsequent government following a provincial election. Purchasing tenures appeared to be the only permanent solution to stopping commercial trophy hunting.  

In 2017, after 20 years of public pressure, the province ended the grizzly trophy hunt. While welcomed and long fought, this did not negate the need for protection for the other approximately 60 species, including all other large carnivores, that trophy hunters are allowed to exploit. Acquiring hunting territories is a permanent solution, not just for grizzlies, but for all carnivores hunted for trophies.

“High quality adventure tourism with wildlife viewing is a big part of this region’s economy, now and definitely in the future,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of Maple Leaf Adventures. “We provide rewarding jobs with high skill and commensurate pay for local people – and local business ownership as well. Raincoast’s work on acquiring the funds for this tenure purchase will make a huge difference to the wolves and bears and other species but also to a regenerative economy for all of our futures in the region.”

“Raincoast plays an amazing role in protecting habitat for our coastal flora and fauna. It is inspiring how they combine science and conservation as their guiding principles. We are so grateful that they are spearheading the work to acquire this large parcel of tenure in the area near Nimmo Bay. It will ensure that the wild spaces and the creatures who live there will stay sacred and untouched.”– Becky and Fraser Murray, Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort.