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Anti Trophy Hunting
Anti Trophy Hunting
Saving BC’s grizzly bears a daunting task

The Daily News, Kamloops, BC      

by Mel Rothenburger


Anthony Marr has one of the toughest challenges on earth. In a world that values the preservation of cultural traditions, he is trying to erase one of the most powerful. In the process, he hopes to save several major animal species from extinction.


An ambitious goal to say the least. Despite devoting himself to it full time for the past several years, he has obtained only limited success. But that hasn’t discouraged him.


Marr became a fairly well known media figure two years ago (and a despised one among recreational hunters) when he championed an attempt to ban all bear hunting in BC. He and WCWC failed… but he’s back at it with a brand new strategy…


I doubt that any policy will be changed this time either, but I admire Marr’s determination…


He has a plan to pose as a wealthy Chinese businessman and secretly video-tape the killing of a captive bear at a Korean “bear banquet”, “where they sometimes lower a bear in a cage on to a bed of hot coal until their paws are cooked, for maximum freshness and perhaps extreme entertainment,” said Marr.


It’s a long way from China or Taiwan or Korea to the backwoods of BC where trophy hunting takes place, but Marr is convinced that all of the atrocities against bears must be dealt with together…


That of course is where domestic opposition comes in…


A meeting here during the referendum campaign brought out some serious heckling. Almost disappointingly, there was little of that this time around. A debate with hunters is always fun, and often productive, and Marr enjoys it…


Anthony Marr has a huge job ahead of him, and I hope he will one day succeed.


It is strange to me that those who kill animals for entertainment control wildlife policy in this province, rather than those who want to keep them alive. If you doubt that, allow me to point out that the BC Wildlife Federation, which is an organization of hunters, proposed to Environment Minister Cathy McGregor earlier this year that non-hunters should have to buy a license to use the woods.


She said she will seriously look into it.


Realizing that hunters would probably lose a referendum on bear hunting, the Federation knows it must stop the environmentalists now.  The hunters will concentrate their efforts in pro-hunting interior communities and leave the urban areas alone.


 “The hunters' message is that poaching is not out of control, that bear populations can support hunting and that hunting is a valid way for wildlife officials to manage populations.


“Even if all the logic is on our side, it is hard to counter emotion,” Federation President John Holdstock) said.


Saying that hunters legally kill 4,000 Black bears and 350 Grizzlies a year in BC, Marr argues that the hunting ban will help protect BC bears from inevitable onslaught of poaching to meet the rising Asian herbal-medicine trade in gall bladders.


To that end, Marr is waging a simultaneous campaign to educate the Chinese community.

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