Europe bans grizzly bear trophies

Posted: 27 January 2004

The European Union has decided to suspend imports of grizzly bear hunting trophies from the Canadian province of British Columbia after intensive lobbying by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency.

Grizzly bears in British Columbia, Canada.© Ian McAllister/
Grizzly bears in British Columbia, Canada.© Ian McAllister/
Grizzly bears in British Columbia, Canada.© Ian McAllister/

The unanimous decision by the 15 member states was prompted by the BC government's failure to protect its grizzly bear population despite repeated promises of action. Grizzlies are listed as vulnerable or threatened throughout the majority of their range in Canada, yet over 200 bears are legally killed in a commercial sport hunt each year. Most foreigner hunters who kill BC's grizzlies come from Europe and the United States.

Bear reserves

Wendy Elliott, EIA's bear campaigner said: "British Columbia's government is systematically eliminating or weakening regulations which protect grizzly bear habitat whilst allowing a sport hunt that scientists have been warning for decades is unsustainable. The EU's decision demonstrates that the international community will not ignore this wilful failure to protect North America's flagship species."

The EU decision, made on January 15, is likely to please the large number of UK tourists who travel to BC to view grizzly bears, an industry that generates twice as much revenue as the sport hunt.

Last June the European Commission informed the BC government that imports of grizzly sport trophies would be suspended unless it implemented the recommendations of its own Independent Scientific Panel on grizzly bear sustainability. In March 2003, the panel called for grizzly bear no-hunting reserves to be established throughout the province and for human access to grizzly-rich wilderness to be curtailed. The BC government has yet to act on the vast majority of these key recommendations.

Elliott continued: "The BC government has consistently put the interests of industry before those of wildlife. EIA applauds Europe's import suspension which sends a strong message that any further delays on implementation all of the panel's recommendations, are simply unacceptable."

  • A report by five independent bear biologists released 12th February, 2004, concludes that most of British Columbia's (BC's) occupied grizzly bear habitat must be protected to avoid a long term slide into extinction. To halt the decline of North America's landmark species, the report concludes that 68-84 per cent of currently occupied grizzly habitat, roughly 360,000km² of BC, must be protected from all damaging human development, including industrial scale logging, mining and motorised vehicle activity. The authors also state that protected areas must be roadless, and the majority must prohibit grizzly bear trophy hunting...(read more).

    Related links:

    Environmental Investigation Agency

    The Bear Society

    From our website:

    Bear necessity