Canadian environmental org’s purchase puts a stop to nonresident bear hunting

Organization now owns 4.5 million acres of BC’s Great Bear Rainforest

Kristen A. Schmitt

Due to a massive purchase by an environmental organization, bear hunting in British Columbia just got a lot harder in one area. The Rainforest Conservation Foundation recently bought exclusive rights to guide nonresidents on about 4.5 million acres of the Great Bear Rainforest, but that doesn’t mean they will. Instead, it’s considered a “guiding tenure” and the coalition is using the purchase to essentially kick nonresident hunters out of the area, according to Yahoo News.

The outfitting lease was purchased from the estate of a hunting outfitter who recently passed away and is a step towards eliminating bear hunting in the area completely. It took the foundation two years to raise the $1.92 million to buy the rights, which are nearly 100% fulfilled aside from the “physical transfer of the hunting license.” That is still underway, according to Brian Falconer, Rainforest’s guide outfitter coordinator.

The foundation started buying out the commercial hunting rights in 2005 and, with this purchase, “an area equal to 87.5% of the area of the Great Bear Rainforest is now free from commercial trophy hunting,” according to a news release. The foundation gained support from the coastal First Nations whose territories overlapped the region.

Based on the type of purchase, the foundation is technically required to hold “hunts to maintain these territories,” which also include Dall’s sheep, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, Sitka deer and caribou. However, Falconer said that, so far, “We’ve been very unsuccessful at those hunts, and so the harvest rate has gone down to zero in those properties. We just have very, very poor hunters.”

This purchase is the foundation’s sixth tenure and they have plans to continue purchasing land to further the elimination of bear – and other types of – hunting going forward.

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