bears and more • Klaus Pommerenke
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26. März 2014
Artikel von Stephen Hume in der Vancouver Sun gegen die Trophäenjagd
auf Bären. Er nennt British Columbia „Brutales Columbia“, weil die
Provinzregierung die Trophäenjagd weiterhin erlaubt
In dem nachfolgend ungekürzt wiedergegebenen Artikel aus der Vancouver Sun vom 16. März 2014 prangert Stephen Hume die unethische und nicht nur von First Nations als moralisch verwerflich gebrandmarkte Trophäenjagd auf Bären in British Columbia an. Das barbarische Abschlachten von Bären als reines Lusttöten, nur um eine Trophäe an die Wand hängen und damit prahlen zu können, ist für die First Nations ein Sakrileg. Die große Mehrheit der Bevölkerung in BC lehnt diese als „Sport“ bezeichnete Jagd als brutal, dekadent und längst nicht mehr zeitgerecht ab. Stephen Hume entlarvt die Argumente der Provinzregierung von BC – allen voran Steve Thomson, Minister of the Environment, die Trophäenjagd auf Bären leiste einen wichtigen ökonomischen Beitrag zu den Finanzen der Provinz, als nachweislich falsch, verlogen und bewusst irreführend. Stephen Hume weist auch darauf hin, dass BC international immer mehr am Pranger steht, weil es sich hartnäckig weigert, die Trophäenjagd endlich zu beenden. Er nennt die Provinz British Columbia wegen der Fortsetzung dieser Jagd inzwischen „Brutish Columbia“, Brutales Columbia.
Stephen Hume: ‚Brutish‘ Columbia’s trophy bear hunt puts us on display
Almost one third of 3,500 grizzlies killed in past decade were females, according to recent study.
In another couple of weeks, from the Kootenays to the coast and the Spatsizi to the Okanagan, the spring bear hunt gets underway. This opening occurs just as mother bears emerge from winter dens with their recently-born cubs.
Whoa! What better time for sporting types to grab high-powered weapons – non-resident trophy hunters are also required to hire a professional guide to lead them to the unsuspecting victims – and get out into the great outdoors to blast hungry grizzlies as they shake off the torpor of hibernation and start foraging for limited food supplies in easily identified areas.
Government regulators ask hunters to „please avoid harvesting female grizzly bears.“ But while pumping bullets into a bear in a family group may be against the rules, blasting momma bear is OK – provided the rest of the family isn’t in the immediate picture.
A study published last winter found that almost a third of the 3,500 grizzlies shot by trophy hunters across British Columbia from 2001 to 2011 were females. Shooting a fertile female is the same as shooting all the cubs she might have borne, of course, which is presumably why the lead scientist on the study likened the practice to playing biological Russian roulette with species survival.
In other places, spring bear hunts are denounced as unethical because of the risk of shooting a mother bear when still-tiny cubs are hiding and can’t be seen, thus condemning them to a lingering death by starvation or, hopefully, a quick death from some other predator.
In 1999, Ontario suspended its spring hunt for black bears when it discovered that a shocking 274 cubs had been orphaned when their mothers were shot by hunters who were too quick on the trigger.
Suggest that this barbarous practice has outlived any economic rationale and government ministers froth cheerily about the $350 million that hunting contributes to the provincial economy every year and how vitally important trophy hunting is in preserving tradition.
That was the line that environment minister Steve Thomson took last September. He was quoted citing that figure by The Canadian Press. But last week, caught in the headlights of a legislative committee examining budget estimates, he sang a different song, one that had a lot fewer zerosin it.
How much direct revenue does the province actually earn from allowing trophy hunters to go out and kill grizzlies for the pleasure of posing with their corpses for photos? Why, it’s $414,000, not $350 million.
Considered another way, the trophy hunt for grizzlies contributes about half as much to the economy as the government apportions to 19 cabinet ministers and their deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers as an executive car allowance.
And put even more succinctly, the province’s payback from trophy hunting among vulnerable grizzly bear populations amounts to 0.001 per cent of total provincial revenue.
By way of contrast, another recent study argues that the small and still relatively undeveloped bear-watching sector of nature tourism in the province already generates more than 12 times the revenue in visitor spending and 50 times the number of jobs generated by letting people kill grizzlies for fun.
Simple common sense observes that you only get to kill a bear once for your vanity photo with the corpse. But with a live bear, you can grab vanity selfies year after year for as long as its natural lifespan permits it to return to the viewing platform.
Put the bear at the centre of the economic equation and it’s clear the live animal generates a much greater ratio of jobs and economic activity than the dead one. The dead bear generates one payment and perhaps a couple of jobs – once; the live bear’s value in terms of bear watching is multiplied by the seasons in its lifespan. If the average lifespan of a grizzly in the wild is 25 years, then the multiplier for the live bear is 25 to one for the dead bear.
So whenever government pontificates about sustainable trophy hunting, remember the newspeak in Orwell’s 1984. You know, „war is peace“, „freedom is slavery“, „ignorance is strength“ – and using a valuable self-renewing resource once and throwing it away is sustainability.
Most of us, surveys repeatedly confirm, don’t consider slaughtering an iconic species solely for pleasure to be our inviolable provincial heritage. And remember, this isn’t about hunting – most of us have no issue with harvesting wild food – it’s about a narrow niche of vanity hunting.
The polls show this difference of opinion isn’t the urban-rural gulf that trophy hunting ideologues frequently claim. Many rural residents, indeed, many hunters, turn out to be as uncomfortable with the trophy hunting of grizzlies as the city folk who are repelled by the ethical questions the practice raises.
There is a price for the pittance the grizzly hunt earns, of course.
The trophy hunt puts us on display internationally as Brutish Columbia, a benighted, backwards place where democracy is so desensitized that government is empowered to simply ignore the wishes of the 3.8 million citizens who want trophy hunting ended and instead permits the killing to continue to appease 186 trophy hunters and a handful of tiny guiding businesses that employ less than a dozen people.
„What were they thinking?“ future generations will ask of us. It will be as fair a question then as it is now.
© Stephen Hume, Vancouver Sun
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