WARNING (This video and story contains graphic content. Discretion is advised): This video of a grizzly bear getting shot multiple times during a hunt is sparking debate online.
A video posted by a local wildlife protection organization is re-kindling the debate about the legitimacy of trophy hunting in British Columbia.
The video shows a large grizzly bear getting shot multiple times during a hunt. The injured bear can then be seen trying to escape, leaving a trail of blood in the snow, to the cheers of the hunters behind the lens.
The bear’s lifeless body is then seen sliding down the mountain before the video cuts off.
Tommy Knowles, Campaign Director for Wildlife Defence League, says they found the video on YouTube about a year ago.
They have been using the video internally for presentations, but just a few days ago, decided to post in on their Facebook page.
“You can see photos of people posing with dead bears, but to actually see how they are killed is a different thing,” says Knowles. “We wanted to make that public.”
Knowles says they don’t know if the video was, in fact, shot in British Columbia or when it was taken, but it is quickly turning into a conversation starter online.
“We had absolutely no idea that it was going to viral like it did,” he says. “Just like with Cecil the Lion, I think people are outraged by the killing of grizzly bears, but also this bear in particular, because of the way it was done.”
WATCH: Randene Neill looks at how our province permits thousands of the bears to be killed each year
Some hunters are also leaving comments on the post, questioning the actions of people in the video.
“I’m an outdoorsman and love fishing and hunting,” writes one commenter. “But these guys aren’t hunters. A hunter honors the animal in which they kill. They use it for the purpose of providing themselves and their families with food. But to kill for the point of killing is utterly wrong and gives those who do this for the purpose in which we as humans were given is appalling.”
“I have always been an ethical hunter,” says another commenter. “But this video is damn hard to watch an animal suffer like that. The guide should have finished of the bear to stop all suffering. This hunter should never be allowed to hunt.”
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Past president of the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia Mark Werner says, even though we do not know under what circumstances the bear was shot, hunters always need to do their part to ensure proper practices are being followed.
“When a person decides to hunt a wild animal, it is a very solemn thing and it must be done very responsibly,” says Werner, adding hunters must have appropriate equipment and skill set to take down a large animal.
“And then all you can do is very quickly and humanely put that animal down.”
“One shot, one kill does not always happen, but it should be the goal,” says Werner. “Hunters need to be sure of their shot when they take it.”
Meanwhile, Wildlife Defence League is advocating for a complete trophy hunting ban across British Columbia, adding that a 2009 poll showed that nearly 80 percent of British Columbians are opposed to the provincial government permitting trophy hunting of bears in the Great Bear Rainforest.
“The population of grizzly bears is falling at a rate that is unsustainable. Alberta put a ban on grizzly hunting and we are calling on B.C. government to do the same,” says Knowles.
He says they want British Columbians to speak out and contact the B.C. premier to express their concern.
Global News has reached out to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for comment. In a statement, Minister Steve Thomson said that the B.C. government allows a grizzly bear harvest based on the best available science, including a population estimate, estimates of sustainable human-caused mortality rates and deliberately conservative mortality limits.
“This government manages grizzly bear populations in the province for First Nation food, social, and ceremonial uses, through the Limited Entry Hunt for licensed hunters, through quota for guide outfitters, for wildlife viewing and for recovery where populations are considered threatened,” Thomson told Global News. “With regard to the video, I am concerned with what I see and this does not reflect the values and practices of responsible hunting.”