Conservationists pay to end hunting in western Canada wilderness

The Raincoast Conservation Foundation opposes sport hunting, and it’s putting its money where its mouth is: It purchased key hunting rights to a prime wilderness area along the coast of British Columbia, and plans to end sport hunting there for good. In late November, the group bought out the guide-outfitting rights for more than 7,722 square miles along B.C.’s central coast — habitat for grizzlies, cougar, wolves, moose, and more — for about $1.18 million. It’s the largest deal of its kind ever in North America, says Ian McAllister, Raincoast’s conservation director. The group plans to work with six first nations in the region to develop an eco-tourism economy to replace trophy hunting. Under the license Raincoast purchased, up to 14 grizzlies could have been killed by hunters from outside B.C. by the end of 2006, as well as an unlimited number of other animals.