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Conservationists planning to purchase trophy hunting license for part of Great Bear Rainforest

Raincoast Conservation Foundation is in the process of raising $1.92 million to purchase the commercial trophy hunting license that covers over a quarter of the Great Bear Rainforest.

The purchase would give the foundation the power to protect the wildlife in the 18,239 square-kilometres of land in the tenure.

Raincoast currently already holds the hunting rights in over 38,000 square-kilometres of the BC coast, which is an area larger than Vancouver Island, or the entire country of Belgium.

The region is home to significant populations of grizzlies, black bears, cougars, wolves, and Roosevelt elk.

This would be the foundation's sixth tenure purchase.

Their strategy, which they’ve been using since 2005, protects dozens of species from being commercially trophy hunted as it gives Raincoast the exclusive rights to commercially guide trophy hunters in perpetuity.

“The acquisition of this huge tenure will support a vibrant and growing wildlife viewing industry. And it will protect generations of wildlife forever.” said Brian Falconer, Raincoast’s Guide Outfitter Coordinator, “This is part of a just transition to a new economy.”

The foundation added that this acquisition “supports a non-extractive conservation economy,” as there are more than 19 ecotourism companies within the tenure who rely on respectful wildlife viewing.

“High quality adventure tourism with wildlife viewing is a big part of this region’s economy, now and definitely in the future,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of Maple Leaf Adventures.

“We provide rewarding jobs with high skill and commensurate pay for local people – and local business ownership as well. Raincoast’s work on acquiring the funds for this tenure purchase will make a huge difference to the wolves and bears and other species but also to a regenerative economy for all of our futures in the region.”

Despite achieving a province-wide moratorium on grizzly hunting 20 years ago, the trophy hunt ban was overturned by a subsequent government following a provincial election.

“Purchasing tenures appeared to be the only permanent solution to stopping commercial trophy hunting,” said the foundation.

In 2017, the province ended the grizzly trophy hunt, however other species were not protected.

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