WILDLIFE GROUPS DENOUNCE BC GOVERNMENT PLAN FOR HUNTER-FUNDED WILDLIFE AGENCY
(Tuesday June 27, 2017) Twenty-three organizations and businesses involved in protecting wildlife
have issued scathing criticism of a BC government plan to turn management of the
province’s wildlife over to a separate agency. In an open letter to government, they
state that “The wildlife of the province belongs to all British Columbians, and has
by law been held by the government in trust, to conserve the wildlife, and to ensure
the rights of all members of the public ... That means that elected representatives
can be held accountable for their wildlife decisions through general elections and in
courts ... A separate agency could not be held accountable by the public, and would
be more susceptible to influence by special interest groups.”
The letter states that bias has already negatively impacted wildlife management in
BC, with the province supporting the grizzly bear trophy hunt despite the fact that a
huge majority of urban and rural British Columbians surveyed are against it. “Meanwhile”,
the letter states, “the staff and funding for our wildlife stewardship ministries
have been slashed to the bone, with a great loss of conservation officers, biologists,
park rangers, and research capacity.”
Now, the government claims it will improve wildlife funding by setting up the new
agency to sell hunting licences and keep the fees. But the government has always
had the ability to put the amount of revenue brought in by hunting fees into wildlife
management; it does not need a separate agency to do so. When a non-government
agency determines how many tags to sell and keeps the money to support its own
operations, that is conflict of interest.
The government has also stated that one source of agency funding would be “outside
groups that have an interest in wildlife”. In the past, US trophy hunting groups have
poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into BC to influence wildlife management,
but they have never been allowed to fund the salaries of wildlife managers. This
would bring dependency and outside control to the proposed agency.
The organizations and businesses have urged the government to 1) scrap the proposal
for a separate agency; 2) increase the wildlife management staff and funding of government
ministries; 3) in recognition of BC’s biodiversity crisis, shift the focus of
wildlife management from juggling numbers of game animals for hunters, to applying
the science of ecology; and 4) recognize that only about 2% of the total BC population
are registered hunters, whereas a huge majority of British Columbians care
about the welfare of our wildlife and ecosystems.
23 Wildlife Groups
BC SPCA, 604 647 6403
Friends of the Lardeau
Get Bear Smart Society
Great Bear Chalet
International / Canada
514-395-2914 ext 204
Kootenay Reflections Photography,
Justice for BC Grizzlies
Adventure Tours Inc.
250-655-1229 ext 225
Valhalla Wilderness Soc.
Vancouver Humane Soc.
Wildlife Defense League
Wolf Awareness Inc.
CONTACT: Anne Sherrod, Valhalla Wilderness Society, 250-358-2610
Barb Murray, Bears Matter, 250-468-7718
Chris Genovali, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, 250-655-1229 ext. 225
Joe Foy, Wilderness Committee, 604-683-8220
Valerie Murray, Justice for B.C. Grizzlies, 250-658-4289
Lindsay Stewart, Pacific Wild, 403-827-0678