04/10/2019

Fresh off of the ill-advised ‘politically-correct’ move to ban the hunting of grizzly bears in 2017, the same animal rights group is urging the government to end the hunting of cougars, lynxes and bobcats.

The Wildlife Defence League (WDL) has launched an online campaign and petition that it will use to pressure the province to ban the popular big cat hunt, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.

“It feels like this is the evolution of the grizzly hunt ban,” WD executive director Tommy Knowles told the Vancouver Sun. “We don’t really see the difference between the grizzly bear trophy hunt and the wild cat trophy hunt.”

The 2017 ban on hunting grizzly bears is the subject of a class-action lawsuit from guide outfitters who are seeking damages for the loss of a lucrative part of their business. British Columbia has yet to file a response and the suit has not yet gone through certification, according to the Vancouver Sun article.

Knowles said his organization is determined to end the hunt, which he says is unethical and inhumane. He also dismissed hunters who claim they are killing the cats for their meat and that the hunt is no different than hunting deer, moose and elk for meat.

The British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF) is on the front lines fighting against the animal rights group’s latest target. In a letter to its membership, the BCWF points out that the proposed ban would be counter-productive.

“Sensationalizing legal hunts may yield a few headlines, but (the Wildlife Defence League’s) message is a disservice to conservationists who understand predator-prey relationships,” B.C. Wildlife Federation President Harvey Andrusak told the Vancouver Sun. He called them a “fringe group” that should not be given a voice.

Chad Norman Day, the president of the Tahltan Central Government in Dease Lake, said in a text he opposes the grizzly and wild cat ban because “we believe in science-based decision making and wildlife management, not populist policies that fail to respect modern-day science, Indigenous knowledge or local knowledge.”

The BCWF supports the current hunting and trapping regulations as they were carefully and scientifically developed by the Provincial wildlife biologists. The member letter states: “Hunting and trapping of these species are highly regulated with designated seasons and bag limits. Under their conservation status, these wild-cats are ranked as secure and not at risk of extinction.”

The BCWF is issuing a call to action. They are encouraging their members to write to their MLAs, Premier Horgan and Mr. Donaldson – Minister of FLNRORD. They are encouraging BCWF members to let these political leaders know of their support for the hunting and trapping regulations as set out in the Hunting and Trapping Regulation Synopsis, and in particular that they support the hunting of cougars, lynx and bobcats.

To assist in the effort, the BCWF has provided this letter to be printed off and sent to the political leaders.

It is critical that the conservation community get involved because the Wildlife Defence League will not stop. Its executive director Knowles told the Vancouver Sun: “Hunting as a management tool is unnecessary.” That is their mantra – hunting is of no value. Period.