Save BC Bears
It’s been six years since the government announced that there would be no more trophy hunting of grizzly bears in British Columbia, a conservation achievement that took years of collaborative and dedicated efforts. However, your voice is still needed to help keep grizzly bears safe for years to come.
Grizzly bears today
In 2o23 we celebrate that B.C. grizzlies have had 6 years of respite from being shot for sport due to a successful campaign to ban the grizzly bear trophy hunt in 2017, however grizzlies are still listed as a species of special concern on multiple conservation lists, and face numerous threats to their survival. On July 12, 2023 the B.C government released a draft of the Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework, a 75-page document outlining how grizzly bears in British Columbia are to be stewarded moving forward, but what does stewardship actually mean in this context? The draft Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework failed to include a definition, and crafting one was part of the goal of the Indigenous Roundtable hosted by the Grizzly Bear Foundation on November 30th, 2023. Pacific Wild was honoured to attend and listen to the Indigenous leaders discuss the wording and content of the draft Stewardship Framework and we look to their leadership on moving forward in a better way for grizzlies.
The draft Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework was the first update for B.C. grizzly conservation in almost 30 years. Despite the draft document’s title, it is not a policy framework, nor is it the grizzly bear management plan required by the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The document is a collection of general information on grizzly bears (including outdated population estimates and a concerning downplaying of the threat of habitat loss and climate change) intended as a resource for newly-proposed local and regional committees that would take over the provincial and federal responsibilities towards grizzlies.
The draft framework provides no guidelines on how the committees would be formed, governed, or held accountable. While 32 of B.C.’s First Nations have participated in the framework draft process, the document does not outline how the newly-proposed regional structure would collaborate with First Nations in decision-making.
On October 5, Pacific Wild and Valhalla Wilderness society co-authored an 11-point open letter to the government in response to the proposed Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework. This letter has the support of over 55 signatories representing environmental and animal care organisations, conservationists, scientists and nature-based businesses.
Please read Valhalla Wilderness Society’s highly informative Action Alert as well as our engagement survey notes for more details on our concerns and considerations regarding the draft Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework. While the public engagement feedback period is now closed, the passion for grizzly conservation it stirred was inspiring.
In August, Pacific Wild, alongside over 40 other voices and organisations including UBCIC, requested an extension on the public engagement period from August 18th to December 31, 2023, as well as asking for other improvements to be made in the survey process.
The petition for an extension to the public engagement period on grizzly bear stewardship gathered over 2000 signatures from B.C. residents in less than a week. Thanks to this pressure, the provincial government granted 3 extensions with the public engagement period coming to a close on October 31, 2023.
Why is this important?
We agree with the B.C. government that updating the framework on stewardship is important. It is especially important since so much in our province has changed in the past three decades. The pressures on grizzlies are compounding – especially in the interior, where hundreds of thousands of hectares of prime grizzly habitat have been clear cut, burned by increasing wildfires, or disrupted by development. Decades of science, advocacy, collaboration and passion finally culminated in a full ban on hunting grizzlies in 2017. Now it is time to speak up for grizzlies again.
Six years ago, polling showed that 74% of British Columbians wanted to see an end to the grizzly bear hunt, but now there are fears that this framework might open the door to an reinstatement of the hunt especially since guide outfitters have been working behind the scenes to keep the pressure up, and even launching a class action suit against the NDP government for business losses incurred by the ban. We need to ensure that the ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting is legislated, so it cannot be easily overturned like it once was before in 2001.
This September, Pacific Wild commissioned a new poll by Research Co. It showed that 84% of British Columbians disagree with the sport or trophy hunting of grizzly bears and that 77% of those surveyed would like to see the B.C. government legislate the ban.
donate today to help support Public awareness of the threat to grizzly bears in B.C.
What can you do for bears?
Grizzly Bears play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance, they are currently designated as Special Concern under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. We believe it is the duty of the government to preserve biodiversity and ensure the welfare of wildlife in the province. Now is the time to turn this intention into legislation and solidify the ban for good. Make your voice heard.
Two ways you can help grizzlies:
- Use your voice: call on the provincial and federal government to do better for bears.
Put pressure on the B.C. government to legislate the trophy hunting ban, making this remarkable step forward for conservation more difficult to overturn.
Regulations Are Fragile: Regulations under the Wildlife Act can be easily undone. An earlier ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting was overturned in 2001 only months after being enacted when an opposing political party came into power. A bill provides robust legal protection, making it significantly harder to reverse.
Future-Proof Conservation: Grizzly bears are vital to our ecosystem. A bill ensures a lasting commitment to their protection, safeguarding our biodiversity for generations to come.
For more grizzly conservation talking points see our 11-Point joint letter signed by over 55 environmental and animal care organisations, conservationists, scientists and nature-based businesses.
B.C. Premier, Hon. David Eby, K.C.
Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. Hon. Minister Nathan Cullen WLRS.email@example.com
Room 310 Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
Other contacts to consider emailing:
National Aboriginal Council on Species at Risk, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon. George Heyman, Environment Minister and Climate Change of B.C., ENV.email@example.com
Hon. Steven Guilbeault, Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven.Guilbeault@parl.gc.ca
Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, aman.singh.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Hon. Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, TAC.Minister@gov.bc.ca
Logan Wenham, BC Director of Fish & Wildlife, Logan.Wenham@gov.bc.ca
Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Green Party, sonia.furstenau.MLA@leg.bc.ca
*Don’t forget to cc us on your emails: firstname.lastname@example.org!
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