Sep 06, 2018
September 10, 2018
Enough is Enough
During the last few weeks several First Nations have called on the government to ban hunting in their territories under the guise of fires impacting wildlife. The provincial government has responded in the case of the Tsilhqot’in Nation call for a ban by noting that the science indicates no measurable impact on wildlife (moose) due to the 2017 fires. The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) applauds the government for sticking to science in its response to the Tsilhqot’in demand.
The BC Wildlife Federation has no issue with legitimate requirements for First Nations right to food, social and ceremonial (FSC) use of wildlife. Resident and non-resident use are set after FSC has been met. A few in the public seem to forget that some non-indigenous people do rely on wild meat for their families. BCWF President Harvey Andrusak stated “we are respectful of First Nations’ FSC requirements that are set by government after conservation levels are satisfied. The BCWF objects when First Nations’ demands for hunting bans are not based on science nor due to conservation concerns. When there are true conservation concerns, then the BCWF calls for no hunting by non-indigenous and indigenous people. This is not what is being put forward by most First Nations.” The government has stated that impacts of fire on wildlife numbers to date have been insignificant.
Using the argument of impacts of fire to call for a ban on resident hunting is disingenuous since a) the call does not include a ban to all hunters and b) the area of fire impact, although very large and clearly disastrous to humans and their dwellings, is in fact a very small portion of any of the identified traditional territories involved.
The continued First Nations call for hunting bans predicated on fires impacting wildlife is an example of First Nations asking the BC government to make wildlife management decisions based on non-science or populism. The BCWF is saying enough is enough, let the wildlife managers do their job and make decisions based on science.
The BCWF works with a number of First Nations including the Tsilhqot’in Nation and other First Nations to improve wildlife populations, especially moose that are a prime source of food for their people. The solution to the current issue of calls for hunting bans is not to eliminate one group of hunters but rather to restore wildlife numbers through collaborative restoration of wildlife habitat.
The BC Wildlife Federation is British Columbia's largest and oldest conservation organization. Our 40,000 members are passionately committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. Our volunteers and donors give generously of their time and finances to support to a wide range of wildlife conservation programs and projects.