A petition on change.org is aimed at protecting B.C.’s bears.

It’s calling on the province to take immediate action, to develop a new policy to “protect and conserve the beautiful bears that have called B.C. home since time immemorial.” 

It claims that the Conservation Officer Service (COS) “is structured and funded to kill wild animals instead of prioritizing prevention, rehabilitation, education, and accountability.” 

“We, the residents of British Columbia, are saying enough is enough,” it adds. 

“Too many wildlife will continue to die at the hands of the COS, in addition to facing increased survival stress with climate change, land development, and habitat loss from forestry, oil, gas and mining industries. We do not accept killing as the solution to human-wildlife conflict.”

The petition is calling for:

1.)  Prevention and rehabilitation vs. killing: that the COS prioritizes preventive measures, educational tools and equipment, and rehabilitation prior to lethal measures

2.) Independent Oversight: that the COS be placed under independent oversight to review and advise the actions of armed law enforcement agents

3.) Funding Support: that funding be made available to any municipality to increase by-law enforcement activities, specifically related to wildlife feeding and attractants; 

4.) Citizen Accountability: that the COS hand out fines and press charges to individuals/organizations providing wildlife attractants;

5.) Training and Best Practices: that all COS members from officers to management “take mandatory training in animal sentience and behaviour to better understand the animals they work with and to act accordingly, and that Best Practices be established and followed for working with the public”;

6.) Anonymous Wildlife Reporting: that both the RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) line and municipal by-law enforcement departments “begin accepting anonymous information regarding by-law or provincial infractions that put wildlife and people at risk. Currently, callers must provide their contact information, and many people hesitate to call in fear of officers coming out and killing wildlife.”

Click here to link to the petition.

It’s directed to Minister of Environment and Climate Change George Heyman; Minister of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Doug Donaldson; Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jim Standen; and Chief Conservation Officer, Doug Forsdick.

We have reached out to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy for a response.