MLA calls for end to bear slaughter

  • Apr. 16, 2008 2:00 p.m.

The killing of bears on Haida Gwaii for sport is unsustainable and indefensible, says North Coast MLA Gary Coons. He echoes the call to support a 1995 resolution made by the Haida Nation House of Assembly, which pushes for an end to the recreational bear hunt on the islands. “People on the Queen Charlotte Islands are overwhelmingly opposed to the recreational bear hunt,” Mr. Coons said. “I think, out of respect for the new relationship and in keeping with the honour of the crown, all members of the government should show deference to the wishes of the Haida, and immediately suspend trophy hunting for bears on Haida Gwaii.” More recently, at the community land planning forum sponsored by the CHN and Victoria, participants agreed the hunt should be stopped. “This government needs to answer questions about why they continue to support the killing of this magnificent animal in the face of overwhelming community support for a moratorium,” said Mr. Coons. “The bear, known by the Haida as Taan, is an animal deserving of the utmost conservation efforts.”Bears populations are slow to recover from disruption, as black bears reach breeding maturity at about 4 or 5 years of age, and produce a small litter of cubs every 2 to 3 years thereafter. The black bears of Haida Gwaii are a unique subspecies found no where else. There’s no reliable data on how many bears live on the islands, making it difficult to ascertain what actions need to be taken to protect them.