British Columbians overwhelmingly oppose return of grizzly trophy hunting: poll

Click to play video: 'Poll finds grizzly hunt ban supported by most in B.C.'
Poll finds grizzly hunt ban supported by most in B.C.
WATCH: The majority of British Columbians want to see the ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting made permanent, according to a recent poll. As Jennifer Palma reports, the ban might be popular but there is opposition. – Oct 4, 2023

Grizzly bears being hunted for sport should be off-limits, according to the vast majority of British Columbians who were polled on the matter.

A recent poll conducted by Research Co. shows that 84 per cent of British Columbians disapprove of hunting grizzly bears for sport and trophies. Research Co. asked 1,000 adults their thoughts on trophy/sport hunting regarding B.C. grizzly and black bears, wolves and wild cats.

The province imposed a ban on trophy/sport hunting of grizzlies in December 2017, which remains in place.

On top of opposing the trophy hunts for grizzlies, 77 per cent of those surveyed would like to see the B.C. government pass a new law that would ensure that the ban would remain in place permanently.

“The notion of enshrining the ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting in legislation is popular across the political spectrum,” said Mario Canseco, Research Co.’s president

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“At least two-thirds of British Columbians who voted for the BC Liberals (66 per cent), the BC Greens (68 per cent) and the BC NDP in 2020 (73 per cent), support this idea.”

Click to play video: 'Grizzly bear attack survivor speaks about lifesaving care'
Grizzly bear attack survivor speaks about lifesaving care

The B.C. government is currently working on a Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework, with the goal to improve conservation efforts and identify “knowledge gaps.”

“The Provincial Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework summarizes Indigenous and Western scientific information, including biology and threats,” B.C. government staff said in a release.

“The framework also provides advice on the stewardship of grizzly bears and their habitats.”

It is asking for British Columbians for feedback and has an online questionnaire that can be completed.

The province has four goals that it aims to accomplish in its public engagement process:

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  1. Educate and inform the public on the threats, conservation status, current stewardship goals, and approaches to meet those goals for grizzly bears in B.C.
  2. Seek feedback, interests, opinions, and views from the public on the draft framework.
  3. Identify if there are knowledge gaps or deficiencies within the framework.
  4. Highlight what aspects of grizzly bear stewardship are important to British Columbians to inform the allocation of resources.

According to the poll, the majority of British Columbians (76 per cent) think decisions about the stewardship of grizzlies should remain in the hands of the province and not be passed off to regional districts or municipalities.

“Grizzly bears, like countless other transboundary species, need a coordinated conservation strategy at the provincial and national level working with Indigenous governments,” said Karen McAllister, Pacific Wild’s executive director.

“The B.C. government appears to be going in the opposite direction, preferring to offload its wildlife management responsibilities to regional and local committees.”

When it comes to trophy hunting and the other species, more than four in five people said it is inappropriate for humans to hunt them. The species in the poll included black bears (83 per cent), wild cats (84 per cent) and wolves (81 per cent).

Click to play video: 'Parks Canada releases new details about deadly grizzly attack in Banff National Park'
Parks Canada releases new details about deadly grizzly attack in Banff National Park

The poll results were published on the heels of a grizzly bear attack that left two people and their dog dead in Banff, Alta.

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Parks Canada has said its dispatchers received an alert at about 8 p.m. Friday from an inReach GPS device about a bear attack west of Ya Ha Tinda Ranch, about 200 kilometres northwest of Calgary.

A Wildlife Human Attack Response Team found an aggressive grizzly bear in the area and killed the bear on-site.

DNA samples from the bear confirmed it was responsible for the attack, and it was not collared, tagged or previously known to wildlife staff in the park.

Grizzly bear experts said this week that fatal attacks are extremely rare, but it’s always a risk when people venture into the wilderness.

Click to play video: 'Investigation into deadly bear attack in Banff National Park continues'
Investigation into deadly bear attack in Banff National Park continues

— with files from The Canadian Press

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