The BC Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced Wednesday that revenue from hunting licenses will now fund a new wildlife agency.
The Province is making a making an initial $5 million investment into this yet-to-be-named agency. On an annual basis, license revenues can bring in up to another $10 million.
President of the BC Wildlife Federation Jim Glaicar says wildlife in the province has been underfunded for decades and this is a long-awaited improvement. No matter how you enjoy the outdoors, he says all British Columbians can enjoy this announcement.
“Currently, about $2.6 million goes directly to fish and wildlife and this announcement is really a 500% increase so it’s nothing but a good news story for all residents of BC.“
Now that funding has been secured, he says the next step is creating this new group. The Province plans to have the agency implemented in the Fall, then members can start figuring out where this money will go.
“This allows that agency or board to look at the overall wildlife populations in BC and make a long-term planning on how to better the environment for those animals and grow more wildlife for the residents of BC.”
The money can also lead to even more. Glaicar believes leveraging efforts will turn every government dollar into two or three. He feels BC is now on the stable, right track to saving and enhancing our wildlife.
“Our end goal down the road is a hundred million dollars a year for wildlife in the province of BC and then we truly will be back to Supernatural BC.”
Some revenue from the licenses – about $2.6 million – will still be dedicated to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for conservation projects.
The government has set aside $200,000 for the next step, which is engaging wildlife stakeholder groups, First Nations, and the public to make a governing model and investment priorities list.