American pop singer Miley Cyrus is wading deeper into the debate about the sanctioned killing of wildlife in B.C., following a weekend trip to the Great Bear Rainforest as guest of a local conservation group.
Over the weekend, Cyrus and her brother Braison were on a bear-watching tour on the Central Coast of British Columbia that was hosted by the conservation group Pacific Wild, and it left her with plenty to say.
The trip came after Cyrus caused a stir on social media last week when she endorsed Pacific Wild's petition to stop the wolf cull. Premier Christy Clark responded that Cyrus should stick to twerking (a provocative dance move she made famous) and leave the wolf cull alone.
But instead, Cyrus decided to pay a visit to B.C. On Saturday and Sunday, when local residents posted pictures on social media of Cyrus in the remote community of Klemtu, news of the visit spread quickly to her fans on social media.
A media blackout limited the amount of information released by the organizers about the trip until Monday morning, when the Pacific Wild organization released a video of Cyrus speaking out against both the wolf cull and grizzly bear hunting, and reflecting on her role as a celebrity raising awareness about the issues.
"When I first spoke out, I knew in my heart that the wolf cull was wrong," said Miley in the video. "But after this visit, I know science is on my side, not just on the wolf cull, but also on the trophy hunt issue. Both are unsustainable and both are horrific. Both have to end."
Wolf cull disputed
Pacific Wild arranged for the pair to spend two days touring the area with wolf biologists opposed to the wolf cull and members of the Kitasoo/Xais'Xai First Nation, one of the coastal First Nations fighting to end grizzly bear hunting in British Columbia.
Pacific Wild director Ian McAllister said Cyrus's star power is sure to raise awareness of the issues.
"I can guarantee she's in L.A. now talking to a lot of people about the amazing experience she had in B.C. and her sincere concerns about how wildlife was managed here," said McAllister.
The B.C. government has said it needs to cull the wolf population in the southern Interior to protect a herd of endangered caribou, but conservationists such as McAllister say the real problem is the loss of viable habitat for caribou.
The government also says the number of the grizzlies killed by hunters each year is managed at sustainable levels, but conservationists dispute the hunt and say it is cruel and unsustainable.
"The government of British Columbia is waging war on wildlife, and it should come as no surprise that their policies are garnering international scrutiny and condemnation," said McAllister.
Last week, it was revealed that NHL defencemen and Vancouver Island resident Clayton Stoner was facing five charges for allegedly shooting a grizzly out of season without a proper licence.