The killing of Cecil the lion drew international outrage and raised awareness about the problems with trophy hunting. Now attention is being focused on British Columbia’s controversial grizzly bear hunt after a graphic video of trophy hunters killing one has gone viral.

The video, first posted by hunters presumably thinking it’s amusing, is graphic and disturbing to anyone with any sense of compassion. Shared by Canada’s Wildlife Defence League (WDL), it shows a grizzly bear meandering across open space on a sunny day. The bear quietly walks along, likely looking for food or on his way to a river to fish, when he is suddenly riveted into panic by bullets.

With nowhere to hide on the open mountainside, the bear tries to run but is wounded by their numerous gunshots, bleeding and growing weaker. Unable to walk as the life drains out of him, the hunters laugh as he first slides then tumbles down an incline leaving a bloody trail in the snow. One man jokes about his slide down the embankment as he loses strength. He won’t have to be carried as far, the hunter says.

You can watch the video on YouTube, but be warned it is graphic and disturbing.

“Three hundred grizzly bears are shot every year, most of them for fun like in that video, and I don’t believe that’s what British Columbians are about,” the national campaign director for the group told TV.

WDL has been trying to end trophy hunting in British Columbia. The bear who was killed and hundreds of other carnivores like him were not killed for any reason other than for the so-called sport of taking shots at a defenseless animal who had no warning and no place to run or hide.

“The government allows a grizzly bear harvest based on the best available science,” Forestry, Lands and Natural Resources Minister said in a statement. “The principles behind our decisions are: a reliable population estimate; estimates of sustainable human-caused mortality rates; and deliberately conservative mortality limits.”

Unfortunately, “best available science” is questionable and doesn’t seem to include the best of humanity’s conscience and certainly doesn’t take into account overwhelming public opposition. According to WDL, about 80 percent of the public wants to see trophy hunting of grizzlies stopped, but the government has continued to ignore the “scientific, economic, environmental and ethical arguments in support of such a ban.”

The video has reached millions of viewers and helped WDL exceed a fundraising goal for its fall campaign to stop trophy hunting and now Fur Bearer Defenders is offering a reward for the identification and investigation of the hunters involved in the killing.

While wildlife advocates work on protecting grizzlies in Canada and in the U.S.,  the video is also a sad reminder about the plight of numerous other species that have been designated as game animals who can be killed for amusement, along with other predators like coyotes who are vital to ecosystems, but are left with no protection at all.

“Trophy hunters have a vested interest in ensuring the public stays uninformed about the cruelty of their ‘hobby.’ But stories of trophy hunting victims, like this grizzly and Cecil the lion, have shed a light on this horrific ‘sport’ happening in British Columbia and around the world,” WDL wrote in an update.

For more info on how to help stop trophy hunting in British Columbia, visit the Wildlife Defence League.

Please also sign and share the petition telling Canadian officials to shut grizzly bear hunting down.

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