Rocky Mountain big horn sheep get winter nourishment from the West Kootenay Big Game Trophy Association. Photo: Submitted

Rocky Mountain big horn sheep get winter nourishment from the West Kootenay Big Game Trophy Association. Photo: Submitted

BCWF calls for better investment in fish and wildlife

Letter from the B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF)

British Columbia’s mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests are suffering from decades of mismanagement and unsustainable use.

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 B.C.’s natural legacy.

Habitat degradation and loss have reduced our landscapes’ ability to produce and sustain fish and wildlife as they once did.

The abundance that the province once had has dwindled to scarcity in less than a single lifetime, most notably being endangered mountain caribou, moose, endangered Interior Fraser Steelhead, Fraser River salmon, and sturgeon.

This scarcity of fish and wildlife has increased social conflict to a breaking point, threatens food security and wipes out tourism-related jobs.

B.C. should be striving to strengthen its communities and economy, based on healthy and resilient ecosystems and abundant wildlife. The recent Progress Report on the Province of British Columbia’s Wildlife Platform clearly demonstrates how a lack of government funding is connected to the wildlife crisis we find ourselves in.

As the province of British Columbia is learning with endangered caribou, it takes exponentially more money to bring species back from the brink than it does to keep species from declining in the first place.

In advance of the Oct. 24 general election, the B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF) has requested that each government party addresses concerns about adequate protection of the province’s natural resources.

While each electoral district in B.C. has its unique challenges, a collaborative approach ensures that our province’s increasing human footprint does not diminish our natural capital.

The questions posed to party leaders address the policy challenges and the initiatives needed to implement to maintain the diversity of species over the long-term, locally and provincially.

At this time, responses have been received from the BC Green Party, BC Liberal Party, and NDP.

The responses can be viewed on the BCWF website.

Now is the time to invest, conserve, protect and restore our landscapes and wildlife to stabilize and restore what makes British Columbia special.

This requires a commitment from the province to re-establish British Columbia as a world leader in fish, wildlife and habitat management.

We are working closely with like-minded organizations to safeguard legislative and regulatory mechanisms, decision-making, independent science oversight and planning functions to ensure we do not slip into endangered species recovery across the province.

Bill Bosch, BCWF president

Jesse Zeman, BCWF director of fish and wildlife restoration program

Letter to the Editor

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