The Costs of Poaching and Polluting
What are the Costs of Pollution?
Whether it’s the domestic and municipal consumption of goods; manufacturing; industry; construction; or agriculture, nearly everything we do generates some type of waste – and many of these waste products require careful storage, treatment, transport and disposal.
While pollution from large-scale and catastrophic events gains media and public interest, the cumulative impacts of many smaller, more diffuse actions can be just as serious. Illegal waste disposal of all types, even small business and household-related wastes, can be detrimental to the environment, our economy and, above all, human health. The water we drink, the air we breathe and the foods we eat all come from the environment and the “quick-fix” solution to someone else’s waste disposal problem can haunt us for years to come.
What is Poaching?
Poaching is the illegal collection or killing of fish, wildlife or native plants. Some common examples include:
- taking more fish and game than the law allows;
- hunting or fishing in a closed area or during a closed season;
- using prohibited gear or equipment; or
- the unlawful collection of fish and wildlife, or their parts, for the purpose of trafficking.
Is Poaching a Serious Problem in British Columbia?
Some studies estimate that poachers kill as many fish and wildlife as are taken legally. As a result, poachers place natural populations at risk and ruin lawful recreational opportunities for us all. Unfortunately, poachers take more than just game animals. They also kill members of threatened, endangered and non-game species. Even if the wildlife and fish taken by poachers is half the number cited, the problem is serious.
Who Are Poachers?
Given British Columbia’s diverse fish and wildlife resources, poaching is carried out by different individuals for different reasons. Generally, poachers are most likely to kill for profit. There are eager national and international markets of collectors and consumers who pay outrageous sums for rare trophies and wildlife parts. Whether they operate alone, or as part of organized crime, trophy and commercial poachers think that game laws only matter if they get caught. They kill with no regard for fish and wildlife, habitat or the rights of other resource users.
While poaching for commercial gain is a significant problem, the taking of one or a few “extra” fish or animals, for reasons other than profit, is also a serious issue. While these individuals believe their bending or breaking of the rules has little impact on the overall health of the resource, they choose to ignore the total impact of all such acts.
Yours to enjoy… and protect
British Columbia’s natural environment, including its diverse fish and wildlife, is a priceless heritage that benefits us all. However, if we and our children are to continue to enjoy these benefits, our environment requires careful management and protection. Consider the following facts about our remarkable province:
B.C. is a vast and rugged landscape. It is Canada's third largest province and comprises 9.5 per cent of the country's total land area. The province is nearly four times the size of Great Britain, 2.5 times larger than Japan, and larger than any American state except Alaska.
We live in the most biologically rich province or territory in Canada and many fish and wildlife populations in B.C. have global significance. For example, the province has approximately 75 per cent of the world's stone sheep, 60 per cent of the mountain goats, 50 per cent of the blue grouse, at least half of the trumpeter swans and 25 per cent of the grizzly bears and bald eagles.
British Columbia has a sizeable and growing population of over 4.2 million people. Between 2001 and 2031 this figure will likely increase by over 36 per cent to nearly 5.5 million.
Currently, with over 360,000 businesses in the province, our population engages in a wide range of economic and recreational activities that impact the environment.
As the pressures on British Columbia’s natural environment increase, so grows the responsibility and challenge to protect and maintain it. Make a difference - report a violation online or call toll free 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP). Cellular users can dial #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network.