Province must take action to reverse wildlife declines

We are calling on the next provincial government to take action on BC’s declining wildlife populations. Wildsight is one of a diverse coalition1 of conservation groups, representing more than 188,000 members and 54,000 supporters, pushing the next government to take wildlife concerns seriously.

John Bergenske, Conservation Director for Wildsight, puts it bluntly.

“Wildlife are in trouble, and the politicians need to stand up and take action,” says Bergenske. “We are calling on the Province to prioritize the conservation of wildlife and habitat and to bring in legislation that includes objectives for habitat.”

Creating firm legislation will encourage dwindling populations to recover and ensure we don’t slip into endangered species recovery across the province. Legislation will give equal footing for our mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, fish and wildlife.

Photo: Michael J Ready/ ILCP

The Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Coalition’s statement reads that while BC is known all over the world for its diverse landscapes and unparalleled biodiversity, the reality doesn’t match up anymore.

“A lack of investment in wildlife management, combined with the impacts of resource extraction and a growing human population has severely reduced a number of species and is jeopardizing the future of BC’s natural legacy,” writes the coalition.

The coalition’s position statement, which was presented to all BC’s political parties, advises that far more money is needed to bring species back from the brink of extinction than it would to keep species from declining in the first place.

“B.C. should be striving to strengthen its communities and economy, based on healthy and resilient ecosystems and abundant wildlife. This creates jobs and helps build relationships between First Nations and non-First Nations communities, creating a brighter future for our children,” it reads.

We propose the Province establish new, dedicated funding to restore fish, wildlife and habitat through a permanent endowment fund.

“Government must dedicate all hunting, guide-outfitting, and trapping license fees, all industry wildlife compensation dollars, a portion of the royalties from new resource extraction projects and ensure all those who impact fish, wildlife and habitat pay into the dedicated fund,” says Bergenske.

The Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Coalition is the largest coalition of organizations concerned about wildlife that British Columbia has ever seen.

“The decline in wildlife populations and the ongoing loss of habitat has brought people together to demand change. We expect our coalition numbers will continue to grow. We will not give up until we see action to recover BC’s wildlife,” concludes Bergenske.

Photo: Milo Burcham

P.S. Want to speak up for caribou, one of BC’s most threatened species? Logging is underway in caribou habitat north of Revelstoke. Tell the government to end it today.

  1. The groups presenting the platform include Wildsight, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers British Columbia, B.C. Federation of Fly Fishers, BC Trappers Association, BC Wildlife Federation, Canadian Parks And Wilderness Society, Fraser Valley Angling Guides Association, Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC, Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative, British Columbia Federation of Drift Fishers, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Georgia Strait Alliance, Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia, Outdoor Recreation Council of BC, BC Interior SCI, Traditional Bowhunters British Columbia, United Bowhunters, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia, Wilderness Tourism Association of BC, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and Wildslife Stewardship Council.