Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Grizzly Hunters from EU Granted Permits to Export from B.C. despite Ban: Report

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Grizzly Hunters from EU Granted Permits to Export from B.C. despite Ban: Report

Article excerpt

EU grizzly hunters granted export permits in B.C.

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VANCOUVER - Hunters from the European Union were granted export permits for grizzly bear trophies from British Columbia, even though the EU has banned the import of the items, a new report concludes.

The report reviewed export permits granted between 2004 and 2015 and found between 25 and 36 hunters from the EU received such permits. The bloc suspended the importation of grizzly trophies from B.C. in 2004.

While the fate of most of these trophies is unknown, records from Germany and Denmark indicate that some hunters tried unsuccessfully to import B.C. trophies, wrote author Jeff Gailus in the report commissioned by the David Suzuki Foundation.

Further research is needed to determine whether the remaining grizzly trophies were left in B.C. or in the United States, or if they were unlawfully transported into the European Union, he added.

The B.C. government banned grizzly bear hunting last December, with the exception of First Nations. There are only 15,000 of the animals left in the province and some populations are on the verge of disappearing.

The report shows the permitting system that governs people who want to move grizzly bear parts across borders is ineffective, said Jay Ritchlin, the David Suzuki Foundation's director-general for B.C. and Western Canada.

"You would find export permits and then you would not find corresponding import permits," or vice versa, Ritchlin said.

"It was just a big hole, and there seemed to be many, many ways that these trophies could get lost in the mix. That tells us we don't actually have a good system for understanding how many bears were being killed."

Trade in grizzly bear body parts is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. Non-resident hunters must apply for a CITES export permit if they want to transport their trophy out of Canada. …

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