Big game outfitters in the Yukon are disappointed with a move to ban trophy hunting of grizzly bears…
By Cheryl Kawaja, CBC News
…in British Columbia and hope a similar
ban is not adopted in the territory.
“It will probably put some pressure on the Yukon to start limiting the
grizzly hunt,” said Neil Cosco, an outfitter who guides clients north of
B.C.’s Natural Resources Minister Doug Donaldson said the ban, which comes
into effect at the end of November, is not about numbers but rather reflects
changing social norms.
About 250 grizzlies are killed annually by hunters in B.C., a number
Donaldson said is “sustainable” for the population estimated at 15,000
bears, but he said public opinion on the practice has turned.
‘Unfortunate political move’
Cosco calls it an unfortunate political move.
“Grizzly bears… become a political topic, so people look at grizzly bears
in isolation where it should be part of holistic game management, where if
you’re managing the prey species you need to manage the predators,” he said.
Outfitter Don Lind, who guides in central Yukon, also questions the B.C.
“I don’t see how a new government could get in there and assess the
situation and make a decision that rapidly, other than it’s a political
According to the Yukon Outfitters Association, about 80 grizzly bears are
hunted annually in the Yukon, and although it’s one of the more popular
species for visiting hunters, it comes after Dall sheep and moose.
Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson hopes the ban in B.C. on trophy hunting grizzly
bears will lead the territorial government to take a closer look at grizzly
Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson says the territorial government should look at
the Yukon grizzly hunting situation and how B.C.’s decision might affect the
“My initial reaction is, what are we going to do in the Yukon?” Hanson said.
“The issue of how we treat our grizzly bear population is not something
that’s new here and my concern was – when I saw this ban in British Columbia
– that there would be increased pressure on big game outfitting by the big
game outfitting industry in the Yukon.”
“We don’t even know in the Yukon for sure how many grizzlies there are. If
you look at the government’s website they talk about maybe six or seven
thousand. They do say that there are some concerns,” she said.
Hanson wants to see the government step up research and make informed
decisions about the bear population.
“I would hope that they would now use this as a spur to work with the Fish
and Wildlife Management Board to get the data, and take action if necessary.
And, if that means that there is ultimately a ban, then maybe that’s where
we have to go,” she said.
Yukon Environment Minister Pauline Frost was unavailable for comment
But the department noted in a statement that it’s already working on a plan
“related to grizzly bear conservation and species management.”
It says that plan will provide “direction for addressing the range of values
and issues related to conservation and management, in this case for grizzly
bears, across Yukon.”