Great news! The barbaric practice of killing grizzly bears has been banned in the province of British Columbia....
Grizzly bear hunting is now banned throughout British Columbia, with the exception of First Nations who will maintain the right to hunt grizzlies for food, social and ceremonial purposes.
The ban was announced on December 18, 2017 by the provincial government saying, “we have listened to what British Columbians have to say on this issue and it is abundantly clear that the grizzly hunt is not in line with their values.”
At Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, we have always recognized the importance of protecting these majestic animals. Our lodge is located in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest and it is surrounded by one of the highest concentration of grizzly bears in the world. As a result, we have committed to a number of initiatives to support conservation of the bears.
“We are putting our money where our heart is,” says owner Beat Steiner. “We donate a portion of every Grizzly Bear Safari package to the Brown Bear Research Network which conducts leading-scientific research to better understand grizzly bears. We have also participated in a program called “Bullets for Binos” created by our friends at Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, where hunters hand in a grizzly hunting permit along with vowing to never hunt grizzlies again in exchange for an $11,000 three-night grizzly viewing package at our lodge.”
Tweedsmuir park lodge is also privileged to have some of the province’s most passionate and knowledgeable bear guides on staff and they are delighted about the ban. Ellie Lamb is a wilderness guide and wildlife artist who has been working around grizzly bears since 1999. She is also on the board of directors of the Grizzly Bear Foundation and has been guiding at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge since 2010.
Ellie sees the hunting ban as enormously important because it goes beyond simply reducing the number of bears killed by hunters. “It is an ethical issue,” says Ellie. “Along with the loss of over 300 grizzly bears a year killed in British Columbia during the trophy hunt, this hunt represents our attitude of extreme disrespect towards the life of these animals and this attitude is indirectly responsible for more deaths then the hunt itself. In other words if people are allowed to kill a bear just to put its head on the wall, the inherent right of the bear to live out his life is stolen from him...”
Tamar Glouberman takes people on boat tours on the Atnarko River to observe the bears. She has been a bear guide for the past four years and has a background which includes working in the Galapagos Islands. She too is grateful for the establishment of the hunting ban.
“Grizzly bears are iconic. They represent wilderness,” says Tamar. “People come from all over the world to see the bears here in the Great Bear Rainforest.”
Both Ellie and Tamar talk about the importance of teaching people to be less fearful of grizzly bears. “We grow up hearing scary stories about bears, but once you spend time observing them you see that they are peaceful, gentle animals with a range of personalities and emotions no different then us” says Ellie. And Tamar talks about the “overwhelming feeling of peacefulness” that she feels in the presence of the bears.
While both guides are grateful for the ban on hunting, Ellie notes that it is just one part of protecting the animals. “We need to reduce the destruction of bear habitat, lessen vehicle strikes, enforce laws against poaching, and together work towards minimizing the conflict killings of bears due to human/bear interaction.” Ellie went on to conclude that "Society needs a deeper understanding of these animals and their true nature. Grizzly bears, in my opinion, can survive but it will be when our fear of them is replaced by our respect for them. By achieving this, we will then create a richer, healthier, and safer home for both the bears and humans to live...."
And we believe this ban is a step in the right direction to achieve this.
Here is the link to the BC Government Press Release.
You can find out more about grizzly bear conservation in British Columbia at the Grizzly Bear Foundation.
Photo: Grizzly bear viewing in small and private groups at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge. These cubs photographed by guest Mick Thompson.