Opinion: End ‘hunter-centric’ model of wildlife management

British Columbians rejoiced Dec. 18 when, after years of public pressure, the provincial government finally put an end to the highly unpopular grizzly bear hunt.

The government’s decision appeared to signal a new chapter of wildlife management for the province — something that many independent scientists and conservationists have long been calling for. Its news release on the grizzly hunt stated: “The government will also be moving forward with a broader consultation process on a renewed wildlife management strategy for the province in the new year.”

Wildlife policy in B.C. is heavily influenced by the recreational hunting lobby and, as a result, treats wildlife as a resource to be exploited and controlled, instead of conserved. Many hoped a renewed wildlife management strategy would mark a new era of transparent, science-based and conservation-minded decision-making, with genuine public consultation surrounding wildlife management strategies.

The excitement was short-lived, as the day following the government’s historic grizzly bear hunt announcement the provincial government posted 68 proposed hunting regulations on its Angling, Hunting and Trapping Public Engagement website. With the distraction of the grizzly hunt announcement, not to mention the holiday season, the proposed rules got little attention and, with a closing date of Jan. 19, 2018, gave little time for public feedback.

The 2018-20 proposals range from allowing motor-vehicle exemptions for trappers, to increasing bag limits to creating new or extending existing hunting/trapping seasons and shortening or closing of others. Many British Columbians, if they were made aware of the regulations, would likely be shocked, not only by the nature of these proposals, but also by the rationale behind them.

For example, the government’s suggestion to lengthen the wolf trapping season on Vancouver Island isn’t based on scientific evidence (as the government itself admits), but instead on anecdotal sightings and observations of an increased wolf population and a lack …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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