Simon looking earnest in Preveza, Greece
Simon Shields, Lawyer

Advising Self-Representing
Ontario Litigants
Since 2005

tenant / small claims / welfare (ontario works) / odsp / human rights / employment / consumer /
collection agencies / criminal injuries compensation / sppa (admin law)
/ line fences / animal cruelty / dogs & cats / wild animal law (all Canada) / war / conditions of guide use

home / about / client testimonials / areas of practice / about self-representation






Wild Animal Law of Canada

--------------------

Wildlife Act (BC)

(01 July 2016)
Note Re Application of the Wildlife Act ('WA')

BC's Wildlife Act (WA) is a complex piece of legislation, sometimes defining key terms in a manner inconsistent with their normal usage, and being riddled with exceptions. When applying the WA to any real life situation it is essential to understand these key terms in their specific technical meanings [see s.1(b) below], and to canvass the numerous situation-specific exemptions that may apply, particularly those located in the WA's Designation and Exemption Regulation [D&E Regs]. Major exemptions for private land-owners I have collected together in s.12(c), and otherwise I have tried to identify exemptions when they apply throughout this module.

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • PROTECTION
  • OWNERSHIP/POSSESSION
  • SALE
  • FACILITIES (zoos and circuses)
  • ADMINISTRATIVE
  • IMPORT/EXPORT
  • TRANSPORTATION
  • HABITAT
  • EUTHANASIA
  • EXTERMINATION
  • HUNTING, TRAPPING AND FISHING
  • HUMAN HEALTH AND SAFETY
  • CIVIL LIABILITY
The full current text of these statutes may be viewed at the British Columbia statute website.

_________________________
Table of Contents
1. Overview
(a) General
(b) Terminology
(c) Limited WA Application to Fish
2. Ownership and Possession of Wildlife
(a) Ownership
(b) Possession
3. Protection
(a) General Prohibitions and Protections
(b) Protective Orders
4. Habitat Protection
(a) Overview
(b) General Protections
(c) Protective Orders
5. Hunting, Trapping and Angling
(a) Overview
(b) Hunting Prohibitions and Protections
6. Export, Import and Relocation
(a) Import and Export
(b) Release and Abandonment
7. Sale
8. Rehabilitation
9. Zoos
10. Species-at-Risk
11. Controlled Alien Species
(a) Overview
(b) 'Controlled Alien Species' Defined
(c) Application of WA General Provisions to Controlled Alien Species
(d) Seizure and Disposition of Controlled Alien Species
(e) Prohibited and Restricted Species
12. Extermination
(a) Overview
(b) Killing by Conservation Officers
(c) Private Land-Owners
(d) Duty to Kill
(e) Reporting Duties
13. Liability
14. Human Health and Safety
15. Transportation
16. Enforcement
______________________________________


1. Overview

(a) General

With some exceptions, BC's Wildlife Act is similar to the hunting, trapping and fishing statutes found in all Canadian provinces. The major exception is it's extensive treatment of 'controlled alien species', which govern possession and treatment of exotic wildlife (ie. pets, in zoos, etc) at least insofar as they pose a threat to human and other wildlife interests.

(b) Terminology

Essential terminology used throughout the WA includes [WA 1(1)]:
  • "animal" means a mammal, reptile, amphibian or bird; [though not fish, see s.1(c)]

  • "big game" means any member of the family Cervidae (deer), mountain sheep, mountain goat, bison, pronghorn antelope, bear, cougar, wolf, lynx, bobcat, wolverine [D&E Reg 17];

  • "dangerous wildlife" means bear, cougar, coyote, wolf;

  • "fur-bearing animals" are the animals listed here ;

  • "game birds" are the birds listed here D&E Reg 14: Games Birds, and their eggs;

  • "habitat" or "wildlife habitat" means the air, soil, water, food and cover components of the environment on which wildlife depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes;

  • "harass" includes worry, exhaust, fatigue, annoy, plague, pester, tease or torment, but does not include the lawful hunting, trapping or capturing of wildlife;

  • "hunt" includes shooting at, attracting, searching for, chasing, pursuing, following after or on the trail of, stalking or lying in wait for wildlife, or attempting to do any of those things, whether or not the wildlife is then or subsequently wounded, killed or captured,

    (a) with intention to capture the wildlife, or

    (b) while in possession of a firearm or other weapon;

  • "native species" means (1) a species indigenous to BC, or (2) a species that has extended it's range into BC from another part of North America, unless the species was introduced to BC by, or extended it's range anywhere in North America with the aid of, human intervention or activities;

  • "small game" are the animals listed here D&E Reg 15: Small Game;

  • "game" means big game, small game, game birds and fur bearing animals, and other species prescribed as game;

  • "wildlife" means:

    • raptors (vultures, eagles, falcons, hawks, owls and including their eggs)

    • threatened species [see s.10 below],

    • endangered species [see s.10 below],

    • game

    • all species listed in Schedule A of the D&E Reg [D&E Reg 1].

    but excludes controlled alien species [see s.11 below].
(c) Limited WA Application to Fish

For purposes of the WA, 'fish' includes any member of the Class Osteichthyes (which includes most fish), lampreys, crustaceans and mollusks "from or in non-tidal waters of British Columbia, and includes their eggs and juvenile stages" [WA 1(1)].

With few exceptions however, the only significant area of WA involvement with fish is in licensing of anglers. This is due to the extensive constitutional role of the federal government over inland fisheries (see the federal Fisheries Act module).

Most of non-licensing provisions of the Wildlife Act are inapplicable to fish by virtue of them being excluded from the key operative terms of the WA, being 'animal' and 'wildlife' [WA 1(1)]. The few times that fish are included within the term 'wildlife' (and thus invoke those provisions) are ones relating to the Minister's authority to establish and protect wildlife management areas (as well as critical wildlife areas and wildlife sanctuaries) where the conservation of fish may be considered in the creation of such areas [WA 3,4,5,7,8], and the WA's seizure and detention provisions where fish (there also being 'wildlife') may be seized and dealt with as wildlife [WA 97.1-98.1].

The few prohibiting provisions applicable to fish are listed here:
  • any fish of the Class Osteichthyes (which includes most fish), lampreys, crustaceans and mollusks may not be possessed, transported or trafficked without a permit; excepted are goldfish and ornamental tropical fish [Freshwater Fish Regulation 1,2 ('FF Reg')];

  • the sale or bartering of fish "caught by angling in the non-tidal waters of the Province", or attempting such sale or barter, is prohibited. This does not apply to fish bred and raised for sale in federally-licensed (see the federal Fisheries Act module) fish farms [Angling and Scientific Collection Regulation 14 ('ASC Reg')].

2. Ownership and Possession of Wildlife

(a) Ownership

The WA codifies the law of ownership of wildlife, as follows [WA 2]:
  • unless otherwise excepted, the province owns all wildlife in the province;

  • a personal right of ownership in wildlife arises when the animal is taken under license and/or permit in accordance with the WA;

  • where an animal is killed "by accident or for the protection of life or property" then the province retains ownership.
Where a non-domestic animal escapes from captivity, or is released or abandoned, the animal becomes the property of the province [WA 76], though this does not apply to controlled alien species [WA 6.6(3)]. For these purposes, "domestic animal" includes horses, cattle and domestic sheep [D&E Reg 12].

(b) Possession

Possession of live wildlife is prohibited except under appropriate license or permit [WA 33(1)], though this provision is exempted for:
  • importation or exportation of wildlife between provinces as part of a circus whose main place of business is outside of BC, if the same animals are being imported and exported [WAG Reg 10.02];

  • captive possession of slider turtles (Trachemys scripta) [Wildlife Act General Regulation 17.04 ('WAG Reg')];

  • possession of quail, pheasant, partridge, wild turkey or European rabbit that was hatched or born, and raised, in captivity [WAG 17.02].
Persons possessing live wildlife under permit are required as conditions of their permit to maintain records of species and number held, along with other details [Permit Regulation 13 ('P Reg')].

See also s.8 (rehabilitation) and s.9 (zoos) regarding possession of wildlife and other animals for those purposes.


3. Protection

(a) General Prohibitions and Protections

Of course it is prohibited to hunt, trap, angle or harass wildlife without appropriate license or permit, or in a manner not in accordance with the terms of those authorizations.

Additionally though, it is prohibited to:
  • use land or resources in a wildlife management area (see s.4 below) without written permission from the Ministry [WA 4(4)];

  • disturb, molest or destroy a muskrat house or den, or a beaver house or den or beaver dam (with some exceptions) [WA 9(1)];

  • possess, take, injure, molest or destroy [WA 34]:

    • a bird or its egg,

    • the nest of an eagle, peregrine falcon, gyrfalcon, osprey, heron or burrowing owl, or

    • the nest of any other bird when the nest is occupied by a bird or its egg.

    These provisions are exempted where the bird is not wildlife. Where the bird is listed in Schedule C of the D&E Reg, it is exempted from all of these prohibitions except possession [D&E Reg 11.3].

  • hunters wounding animals are required to "make every reasonable effort" retrieve and kill them [WA 35].
(b) Protective Orders

A regional manager of the recreational fisheries and wildlife programs may issue Orders to persons with respect to a wildlife management area, a critical wildlife area or a wildlife sanctuary (see s.4 below) prohibiting the following activities [WA 7(4)]:
  • entering,

  • cutting, picking, removing, altering, destroying or damaging vegetation,

  • disturbing or harassing wildlife,

  • releasing or abandoning an animals therein, and

  • allowing animals to enter therein.
The Minister may by Order prohibit a person or class of persons from hunting or trapping, or using a particular method of hunting or trapping "in a defined area for a period the minister considers necessary for the proper management of wildlife in that area", despite the persons otherwise being licensed to do so [WA 40].


4. Habitat Protection

(a) Overview

BC's Park Act (see that module) provides the province with authority to declare 'wildlife management areas' within parks, conservancies and recreation areas. Additionally, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations ('Minister') has separate WA authority to designate (by regulation):
  • free-standing wildlife management areas [WA 4],

  • 'wildlife sanctuaries' within wildlife management areas (however created) [WA 5(2)], and

  • 'critical wildlife areas' within wildlife management areas, "(i)f the minister requires land for habitat for a species of wildlife designated as an endangered species or threatened species" [WA 5(1)].
Wildlife management areas and critical wildlife areas are designated in the Wildlife Management Areas Regulation.

(b) General Protections

These provisions establish prohibitions and some protections respecting habitat protection:
  • in wildlife management areas, camping and campfires are prohibited, and dogs regulated: Wildlife Management Area Use and Access Regulation;

  • no one may use land or resources in a wildlife management area without written permission from the Ministry [WA 4(4)];

  • where a person, without authority, "destroys or damages wildlife habitat in a wildlife management area or an area set apart for wildlife management" then the province may sue them for "any money that the government spends to restore the habitat and its wildlife to its original state", or where such restoration is not possible, then for damages for the loss of the habitat and its wildlife [WA 8];

  • it is prohibited in a wildlife management area to (1) alter, destroy or damage wildlife habitat, or (2) to deposit on land or water a substance or manufactured product or by product, in a manner that is harmful to wildlife or wildlife habitat, without an appropriate permit or authorization by the regional manager [WA 7].
(c) Protective Orders

A regional manager of the recreational fisheries and wildlife programs may issue Orders to persons with respect to wildlife management area, a critical wildlife area or a wildlife sanctuary prohibiting the following activities [WA 7(4)]:
  • entering,

  • cutting, picking, removing, altering, destroying or damaging vegetation,

  • disturbing or harassing wildlife,

  • releasing or abandoning an animals therein, and

  • allowing animals to enter therein.

5. Hunting, Trapping and Angling

(a) Overview

As always with hunting statutes, the primary regulatory mechanisms used in the Wildlife Act are it's very extensive license [WA 15] (for hunting, trapping and angling) and permit [WA 19] (for most everything else) regimes. The essence of these forms of regulation is to simply prohibit the activity in the absence of having the appropriate authorization. As such, hunting or trapping wildlife without an appropriate license and permits [WA 11,41] and angling without an appropriate license is prohibited [WA 12].

Full details of the licensing and permit regimes are located in these WA regulations:Where specific activities respecting wildlife are discussed in this module, any permit and license requirements are mentioned.

Details of open seasons and bag limits by species, allowable hunting methods and such are located in the Hunting Regulation.

Some species of big game [caribou, elk, grizzly bear, moose, mountain goat, mountain sheep, mule (black-tailed) deer, bison] come under the WA's 'limited entry hunting' provisions, and hunting authorizations may be distributed by lottery [WA 16]. Specifics of this system and which animals it applies to are located in the Limited Entry Hunting Regulation.

(b) Hunting Prohibitions and Protections

Hunting, taking, trapping, wounding or killing wildlife are prohibited in the following circumstances, even with appropriate licensing and authorization (items marked with an "*" are excepted for "a person who hunts or traps wildlife that is on the person's property and is a menace to a domestic animal or bird") [WA 26(1,2)]:
  • where the wildlife is an endangered species or threatened species [see s.10 below];

  • in a wildlife sanctuary;

  • during closed season or in prohibited hours (*);

    Closed areas (where there is no open season) are set out in the Closed Areas Regulation.

  • by the use or with the aid of a light or illuminating device ('jacklighting') (*);

  • with poison;

    This prohibition does not apply "on property owned or occupied by the person or the spouse, parent, guardian, or child of the person in respect of the following animals", if "the poison used is registered under the Pest Control Products Act (Canada) for the use to which it is being put and is used in compliance with the Integrated Pest Management Act" (see those modules) [D&E Reg 5]: voles and lemmings (except muskrat), northern pocket gopher, deer mice, Columbian ground squirrel.

  • with a set gun, or

  • with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, including the one in the breech (*).
For these purposes, a "domestic animal" includes horses, cattle, domestic sheep, goats, swine other than feral pigs, farmed game, fur farm animals, and tame captive non-wildlife that is not native to BC [D&E Reg 8].

Additionally:
  • attempting to capture live wildlife without a permit [WA 29] is also prohibited [with exceptions for private land-owners noted in s.12(c)];

  • a "person who hunts or traps without reasonable consideration for the lives, safety or property of other persons commits an offence" [WA 28];

  • hunting from an aircraft, a motor vehicle or a motorized boat, or using such conveyances to herd or harass wildlife is prohibited [WA 27(1-3)];

  • hunters wounding animals are required to "make every reasonable effort" retrieve and kill them [WA 35];

  • hunting big game while it is swimming is prohibited [WA 30], except for the killing of wounded wildlife [WA 35];

  • leaving a trap for fur-bearing animals set in closed season is prohibited [WA 44];

  • causing or allowing dogs to hunt or pursue wildlife, endangered or threatened species, or game, is prohibited [WA 78].

6. Export, Import and Relocation

(a) Import and Export

The importation of live wildlife or the eggs thereof, and the exporting of BC wildlife (alive or dead, in whole or in part) or the eggs thereof, is prohibited without the holding of "a permit issued under this Act or under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora" (see the federal WAPRIITTA module) [WA 21(1)]. This provision is exempted:
  • for persons holding a fur farm license who are importing or exporting live fur-bearing animals between provinces [WAG Reg 10.01(2)];

  • for persons importing or exporting wildlife between provinces as part of a circus whose main place of business is outside of BC, if the same animals are being imported and exported [WAG Reg 10.02(1)];

  • for a person who possesses a quail, pheasant, partridge, wild turkey or European rabbit that was hatched or born, and raised, in captivity, but only if the import or export is from or to another province in Canada [WAG Reg 17.02].
Importation is prohibited of any live species listed in Schedule A of the Permit Regulation, except with a scientific or educational permit [P Reg 7].

(b) Release and Abandonment

Releasing or abandoning a non-domestic animal is prohibited [WA 77(2)], and where a non-domestic animal escapes from a person's captivity the person must "make every reasonable effort to recover the animal" [WA 77(2)]. For these purposes, "domestic animal" includes horses, cattle and domestic sheep [D&E Reg 12].

This provision is excepted for native non-wildlife, such that the animal may be released in an area of the province where it naturally occurs [WAG Reg 1.02]. Additionally, captive-hatched and raised pheasants, quail, partridges and turkey are exempt from this release provision where release is on private land [WAG Reg 1.04].

Various WA exemptions apply to facilitate wildlife relocation activities. These are located in s.3 of the Designation and Exemption Regulation.


7. Sale

Trafficking in live wildlife or wildlife meat is prohibited without a permit [WA 22]. A person possessing quail, pheasant, partridge, wild turkey or European rabbit that was hatched or born, and raised, in captivity is exempt this provision [WAG Reg 17.02].

A permit to possess live upland game birds in captivity is a valid permit for this purpose and allows the selling of those birds [WAG Regs 17.01].


8. Rehabilitation

Live wildlife may be possessed in captivity, captured, transported, released and euthanized for purposes of rehabilitation by the holder of a valid rehabilitation permit [P Reg 2(t)]. Records of species, number and other details must be kept [P Reg 20].


9. Zoos

A 'zoo' is defined as "a place or enclosure where animals are kept in captivity for public viewing or public display, but does not include a permitted rehabilitation facility or a business for the sale of live animals" [P Reg 1].

Subject to (generous) limits on the numbers of large mammals, zoos may be operated under a permit to possess live wildlife [P Reg 2(j), 21]. Zoos must "maintain public liability and property damage insurance in the amount of not less than $1 million" [P Reg 21(2)]. Where the zoo holds controlled alien species, the insurance coverage must be for $2 million [P Reg 21(2.1)].


10. Species-at-Risk

The provincial Cabinet may by regulation designate [WA 6]:
  • Endangered Species

    These are wildlife species "threatened with imminent extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range in British Columbia because of the action of humans". The animals presently classified as endangered are the Vancouver Island Marmot, the Burrowing Owl and the American White Pelican [D&E Reg 13(2), Sched E].

  • Threatened Species

    These are wildlife species "likely to become endangered in British Columbia if the factors affecting its vulnerability are not reversed". The only animal classified as threatened to date is the Sea Otter [D&E Reg 13(1), Sched D].
Unlike most other provinces, BC does not have dedicated 'species-at-risk' legislation (aka endangered species act), with their more extensive species and habitat protections. In it's place threatened and endangered species are afforded, throughout the WA, with additional protections over and above those of other wildlife. These are discussed in other sections of the module where they apply, and include the following:
  • hunting, taking, trapping, wounding or killing endangered or threatened species is prohibited [WA 26(1,2)];

  • 'critical wildlife areas' within wildlife management areas may be established, "(i)f the minister requires land for habitat for a species of wildlife designated as an endangered species or threatened species" [WA 5(1)];

  • causing or allowing dogs to hunt or pursue wildlife, endangered or threatened species, or game, is prohibited [WA 78].

11. Controlled Alien Species

(a) Overview

In a progressive, albeit limited, advance towards dealing with exotic wildlife, the Wildlife Act has established the regulatory category of 'controlled alien species'. These measures are not directed at animal welfare of individuals within this class so much as at protection of humans and their property, and of native wildlife and it's habitat.

These provisions could easily have been located in free-standing 'invasive species' legislation, since their cross-over into wildlife law as such is quite limited.

(b) 'Controlled Alien Species' Defined

A 'controlled alien species' is a Minister-designated (see links below) non-native "species, sub-species, variety or genetically or geographically distinct population" of animal or fish, that "poses a risk to the health or safety of any person or poses a risk to property, wildlife or wildlife habitat" [WA 1(1) "species", 6.4].

The following classes of animals are so designated:Hybrid animals and fish that have an ancestor within 4 generations that is a species designated above are also considered to be controlled alien species.

(c) Application of WA General Provisions to Controlled Alien Species

Note that the definition of "wildlife" used in the Wildlife Act expressly excludes controlled alien species [WA 1(1)]. As such, any provision of the Wildlife Act that applies to 'wildlife' as such does not automatically apply to controlled alien species.

That said, the following WA enforcement provisions (see s.16) are expressly made applicable to controlled alien species "as if" those species were wildlife (or fish) [WA 6.6(1,2)]:
  • warrantless entry and inspection of premise were animals held [WA 89];

  • warrantless search of persons, vehicles and other conveyances, and other listed premises [WA 93];

  • seizure of animals as evidence [WA 94(1)];

  • authority to stop vehicles and make inquires [WA 95]
.Note as well that some provisions of the WA apply to "animals", rather than 'wildlife' and as such have prima facie application to controlled alien species. Of these, the provision vesting ownership of a non-domestic animal in the province on release or abandonment does not apply to controlled alien species [WA 6.6(3), 76].

(d) Seizure and Disposition of Controlled Alien Species

A conservation officer ('CA') may seize an animal of a controlled alien species if the animal is possessed in contravention of (1) permit conditions [permits are required to possess live wildlife under WA 33(1)], (2) a WA regulation or (3) an Order prohibiting a person from possessing the animal [WA 97.7](1). Additionally, where in the opinion of the CA, the animal "presents an imminent danger to the health or safety of a person or to property, wildlife or wildlife habitat", the CA may seize and destroy it [WA 97.7(2)].

In either seizure circumstance the province may, after giving the owner of the animal 14 days notice, then either "destroy, sell or otherwise dispose" of the animal [WA 97.71(1)]. Sale in such circumstances conveys valid title in the animal to the purchaser, and the loss of title by the prior owner [WA 97.72].
Note: There appears to be some ambiguity here in that s.97.7(2) suggests immediate destruction of the animal, while 97.71(1) clearly requires that 14 days prior notice be given. What about where the owner can't easily be located for service?
(e) Prohibited and Restricted Species

The Controlled Alien Species Regulation ['CAS Regs'] establishes further classes of controlled alien species, and further prohibits certain activities respecting them.

These categories and activities are outlined here:
  • Prohibited Species (include all of 1,2 and 3 below)

    • 1. The animals listed here in Schedule 1: CAS Reg, and

    • 2. The snake species listed in ss.1(a,b) of Schedule 2: CAS Reg when they are "3 metres or more in length when measured from the front of the snout to the tip of the tail while the animal is fully extended", and

    • 3. The lizard and monitor species listed in ss.1(c) of Schedule 2: CAS Reg when they are "2 metres or more in length when measured from the front of the snout to the tip of the tail while the animal is fully extended".

    Permits are required to possess any prohibited species [CAS Reg 3].

    Breeding prohibited species is prohibited unless the breeding is done under a permit, in accordance with an approved management plan, and is done by either (1) an accredited zoo or aquarium, (2) a certified educational institution, or (3) a certified research institution [CAS Reg 4].

    Shipping or transporting a prohibited species within BC is prohibited without a permit [CAS Reg 5.1].

  • Restricted Species

    An animal listed in Schedule 2: CAS Reg, other than an animal listed above as a prohibited species.

    Release of a restricted species is prohibited, as is allowing one to escape [CAS Reg 5].

  • Aquatic Invasive Species

    Fish and mussels listed in Schedule 3and 4: CAS Reg.

    Possession, breeding, release or allowing escape and shipping or transporting within BC of any aquatic invasive species is prohibited [CAS Reg 7(1-4)], with some exemptions for educational and research institutions [CAS Reg 8].

12. Extermination

(a) Overview

Significant portions of the WA address the destruction of what might be called 'nuisance' animals. Such destruction, or other human deterrence activity, is commonly (and legally) tolerated on private property by the owner.

(b) Killing by Conservation Officers

A conservation officer may kill:
  • non-domestic animals that are "at large and is likely to harm persons, property, wildlife or wildlife habitat" [WA 79];

    For this purpose, "domestic animal" includes horses, cattle and domestic sheep [D&E Reg 12].

  • dogs "at large in a wildlife management area";

  • dogs "at large and harassing wildlife";

  • cats "at large where wildlife is usually found".
(c) Private Land-Owners

A range of exceptions apply to private land-owners, typically engaged in the protection of their property. These include:
  • the provision barring attempting to capture wildlife is excepted for [WA 29, D&E Reg 6]:

    • animals listed in Schedules B and C of the D&E Regs (these are linked above) "on property owned or occupied by that person or the spouse, parent, guardian, or child of that person for the purposes of the protection of property";

    • hunting and trapping raptors "that are on the person's property and are a menace to domestic animals or birds", though for this purpose snares, traps set above the ground and leg-hold traps may not be used.

  • persons who hunt or trap wildlife that is on their property and that "is a menace to a domestic animal or bird" are exempt from the following WA provisions [WA 26(2), D&E Reg 9.1(1)]:

    • the hunting (but not trapping) license requirement;

    • taking animals in closed season,

    • using a firearm or a bow during the prohibited hours,

    • using a light or illuminating device, and

    • using shotgun with more than three shells capacity (counting one in the breech).
Additional private property-related WA exceptions are linked here for reference. They may be accessed in the WA's Designation and Exemption Regulation:
  • Coyotes and Wolves Menacing Domestic Animals on Private Property [D&E Reg 11.4];

  • Hunting Schedule B or C Wildlife For Protection of Private Property [D&!E Reg 2];

  • Trapping and Relocating Schedule B or C Wildlife on Private Property [D&!E Reg 3];

  • Trapping and Killing Some Reptiles and Amphibians on Private Property or Crown Land [D&E Reg 3.1];

  • Hunting and Trapping Schedule C Animals on Private Property (no license requirement and no closed season) [D&E Reg 11];

  • Feral Pig Recapture [D&E Reg 3.2];

  • Hare and Rabbit Exemptions [D&E Reg 9].
(d) Duty to Kill

If a person injures any of the following wildlife, they must kill that wildlife:(e) Reporting Duties

Where wildlife are killed or wounded by a person "either by accident or for the protection of life or property", the person must report the killing or wounding, and the location of the wildlife, to a conservation officer [WA 75]. However this duty is exempted with respect to any of the following species [D&E Reg 10]:The reporting duty is also excepted "where the person accidentally kills or wounds, while using a motor vehicle", any raptor, and all fur-bearing animals except wolf, black bear, badger, lynx, wolverine and bobcat.

The killing of any endangered or threatened species must be reported (see s.10).


13. Liability

The WA provides that "no right of action lies, and no right of compensation exists, against the government for death, personal injury or property damage caused by" [WA 2(5)]:
  • wildlife;

  • controlled alien species (see s.11 above);

  • an animal that escapes or is released from captivity or is abandoned.
Anyone who releases an animal, or from whose captivity the animal escapes, is liable "to the government for loss or damage to wildlife or wildlife habitat caused by the animal, and for all costs incurred by the government in pursuing, recovering, holding or destroying it" [WA 77(1)].

See also s.9 regarding zoos insurance requirements.


14. Human Health and Safety

The feeding of dangerous wildlife, as well as the placing of attractants, is prohibited - particularly "on or about any land or premises where there are or where there are likely to be people", subject to some permit exemptions [WA 33.1, P Reg 11].

Additionally, where a conservation officer "believes on reasonable grounds that dangerous wildlife is or may be attracted to any land or premises other than a private dwelling" can make 'dangerous wildlife protection' Orders "directing an owner, occupier or person in charge of that land or premises to contain, move or remove the attractant within a reasonable period of time" [WA 88.1].


15. Transportation

Shipping or transporting wildlife or fish within BC is prohibited [WA 37], except:
  • by a person who has been personally taken the animal under license, and is personally tranporting it [WAG Reg 4.01];

  • by a person holding a fur farm license, who is transporting fur-bearing animals [WAG 10.01];

  • for importation or exportation of wildlife between provinces as part of a circus whose main place of business is outside of BC, if the same animals are being imported and exported [WAG Reg 10.02(2)];

  • by a person holding a permit to possess live upland game birds in captivity, for the purpose of selling those birds[WAG Regs 17.01];

  • for a person who possesses a quail, pheasant, partridge, wild turkey or European rabbit that was hatched or born, and raised, in captivity [WAG 17.02].

16. Enforcement

The WA's primary ground-level enforcement personel are conservation officers appointed under the Environmental Management Act (see that module). They possess a typical range of regulatory powers, including the authorities:
  • to arrest without warrant on commission of a WA offence [WA 87];

  • to require surrender of firearms where reasonable and probably grounds exist that a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs [WA 88];

  • to enter and inspect "any premises or enclosure in which live wildlife or live fish is kept" [WA 89] [applies to controlled alien species as well: WA 6.6(1)];

  • with a warrant, to enter and search 'buildings and premises' and to seize an animal or fish, killed, taken or possessed in violation of this Act" where they have reasonable and probable grounds to suspect such a WA violation [WA 92];

  • without a warrant, to search persons, motor vehicles and any "shop, public market, storehouse, garage, restaurant, hotel, eating house or camp" where they have reasonable and probably grounds to believe that illegally-taken wildlife or fish are present [WA 93] [applies to controlled alien species as well: WA 6.6(1)];

  • to seize evidence of a WA violation [WA 94], and where live wildlife is seized they may "dispose of the wildlife, or have the wildlife disposed of, by returning it to the natural environment if the conservation officer believes on reasonable grounds that the live wildlife is capable of surviving after release" [WA 97.2].



Lawyer License #37308N / Website © Simon Shields 2005-2017