Bear hunt to continue, despite protests

  • Mar. 18, 2009 2:00 p.m.

The Haida, along with other coastal First Nations are stepping up a provincial campaign to put an end to the trophy hunting of bears. At a news conference in Vancouver on Tuesday, Coastal First Nations, (an alliance between the Haida and other coastal First Nations), joined with the Humane Society and conservation group Pacific Wild, to urge the BC government to end trophy hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest. CHN vice-president Arnie Bellis was at the event. “We are not happy with the bear hunt on Haida Gwaii or on the coast,” he said. Mr. Bellis says the CHN thought they had dealt with this issue twice now. First the Letter of Understanding was signed in 2005 between the province and the CHN which said “the Parties will review options with respect to ending commercial and recreational bear hunting on the islands” and then later, Mr. Bellis said, the CHN felt they’d come to an agreement through one of the Province’s negotiators. But the hunt is set to continue. The bear hunt opens on April 1- less than two weeks from now – and Tlell River Lodge owner Kevin Olmstead says he’ll be open for business. The Observer checked with the guide outfitter to see if things were going ahead as usual. “That’s the plan,” he said. He hadn’t heard of any plans for protests to match last year’s Halt the Hunt campaign, where protesters stood on the road leading to the Tlell River Lodge. Mr. Bellis said that the CHN has tried to negotiate buying the lodge and the licence from Mr. Olmstead. “But he simply wanted way too much money.”