Trophy hunting of grizzly bears to continue in British Columbia
British Columbia is cracking down on the use of sheep and goats as pack animals for big game hunters in its latest set of hunting and trapping regulations. But the contentious trophy hunting of grizzly bears will continue unchanged.
The provincial ministry responsible for hunting produced updated regulations on Monday, and although it has rejected a proposal to increase the number of grizzly hunting permits for resident hunters in the Peace River region, environmentalists are disappointed that the status quo remains in place.
The major changes include additional record-keeping requirements for butchers, and a new ban on bringing domesticated sheep or goats along on big game hunts to act as beasts of burden because of fears that the animals may pass on disease to wildlife. The report did not say whether this was a common practice. Steve Thomson, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, says in the report released Monday his major concern in wildlife management right now is around the declining moose population, and he promised a new BC Moose Tracker app that will allow people to record moose sightings.
Mr. Thomson could not be reached for comment, but in a statement, ministry officials maintained that the current grizzly bear hunt is sustainable.
Auditor-General Carol Bellringer has announced she will conduct a performance audit to determine whether the province is effectively managing the grizzly bear population . The province says there are 15,000 grizzlies in B.C. and that hunting is allowed only after conservation targets and aboriginal harvests for food, social and ceremonial uses are met.
Ms. Bellringer’s report is not expected until next spring, and Ian McAllister, executive director of Pacific Wild, an environmental organization, said that means the B.C. Liberal government’s current approach won’t be effectively challenged until the May, 2017, provincial election.