Coastal First Nations Shut Down Trophy Hunting In Great Bear Rainforest

B. McPherson

Would you kill this magnificent creature and hang it on a wall?

The alliance of Coastal First Nations have declared a ban on trophy hunting for bears in their traditional territories. Protection of bears will be monitored and enforced by a coalition of ten nations including the Haida from Haida Gwai(formerly Queen Charlotte Islands). In a strong statement issued on September 12, Kitasoo/Xaixais Chief Doug Neasloss declared that the bears will be protected by any means.

This is the result of several years of working with the provincial government to halt trophy hunting.

"Despite years of effort by the Coastal First Nations to find a resolution to this issue with the Province this senseless and brutal trophy hunt continues.” Chief Doug Neasloss

First Nations spokesman pointed out that the trophy hunters often shoot their quarry by the shoreline where they come to look for food. The native people are not against a food hunt, but that the trophy hunting is alien to their culture and will not be allowed in their territory from now on.

This announcement comes at a time when attention is being focused on the Great Bear Rainforest as oil pipeline consortium Enbridge is pushing to construct a pipeline through the territory. Access roads to service the pipeline would expose more of the wildlife to hunters.

The Great Bear Rainforest is the home of the Kermode or Spirit Bear. The white, black bears are more rare than China’s giant pandas and are an extremely important part of the spiritual life of the Coastal Nations.

Others working with the conservation group, Rainforest Conservation Group, have purchased hunting rights that now control about 28 000 square kilometres of the area. This will protect the crucial habitat of the Kermode bears and ban the killing of grizzly bears. The conservation group purchased the hunting rights from an outfitter who sold them after the trophy hunt ban was announced.

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