#SAVEBCBEARS

by Inga Yandell

Beautifully melodic, the dulcet tones of pop artist Miley Cyrus adds emotional urgency to a new campaign by Pacific Wild. #SAVEBCBEARS is a socially empowered initiative to draw attention to a government loophole being exploited by hunters in British Columbia, where bears are being hunted for food under a law that technically only bans trophy hunting.

The initiative’s centrepiece is an online video featuring Miley Cyrus performing a rendition of Teddy Bears’ Picnic against the backdrop of an empty wilderness. Head to savebcbears.org to listen to Miley’s new acoustic cover as she joins the efforts of Pacific Wild to work towards the protection of one of the most iconic, intelligent, slowest-reproducing land mammals in British Columbia.

You would rightly presume the presence of bears in a land known for them, would be fiercely protected by the powers that be—yet bears, an essential element of the ecosystem, need public outrage and support to enforce stricter laws for their preservation.

On August 14th, the NDP government announced a ban on the grizzly bear trophy hunt province-wide and a stop to all hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest—after the fall hunt, which began the day after the announcement. This year, the Fall hunt has been extended from August 15 to November 30, 2017.

In the fall hunt female grizzlies may be pregnant when they are hunted. In the spring hunt, female bears are often shot due to mistaken identity leaving their cubs to perish. Grizzly bears have the second lowest reproduction rate of North American land mammals. Economically, BC’s grizzly bear trophy hunt threatens the growing and sustainable wildlife-based tourism industry. Eco-tourism and bear viewing attract thousands of people to BC every year and create sustainable employment. There is simply no scientific, ethical or economic rationale for the hunt.

The changes by the NDP government still allow for the killing of grizzlies in the rest of the province so long as hunters take the bear’s edible portions. This does not make for a true end to trophy hunting; it is a loophole that may lead to more poaching for valuable trophies, and it is unclear how it will be enforced. Grizzly bear meat is rarely eaten by hunters. Even if the meat must be checked by a Conservation Officer, it could still be discarded afterwards. We do not oppose hunting for food, but one of the most powerful, intelligent, slowest-reproducing, and farthest ranging land mammals is not a necessary or ethical food source.

British Columbia is one of the last refuges of the grizzly bear, which once roamed widely across North America. Despite widespread opposition, our government continues to treat this vulnerable and iconic species as an expendable resource.

Your voice matters. Miley Cyrus is working with Pacific Wild to advocate for the long-term survival of grizzly bears. Join us today in the #SAVEBCBEARS movement, alongside 90% of British Columbians, including Coastal First Nations, who wish to see an end to this barbaric hunt. Make your own version of our campaign video and sign the petition.

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
Inga Yandell

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