Great news about Wildlife Management Areas and new regulations put in place to reduce Owl and Wildlife Harassment in BC!

New signs put up by the BC Govt at Boundary Bay - Photo: Alison Martin

Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s) in the South-Coast Region of BC have new regulations in place to protect and enforce against wildlife harassment. This includes the prohibition of harassment including that from unethical wildlife photography of Owls and other animals like Bears. It is so positive that there is now language describing what constitutes harassment, which there wasn’t before.

You can see the new regulations in place at the link HERE

Here is just an excerpt :

“The public is prohibited from disturbing or harassing wildlife in the Wildlife Management Areas described in section E of this order:

In this order: “disturb” includes intentionally disrupting, agitating, pursuing, interfering with, or inducing or enticing to move, but does not include the lawful hunting, trapping or capturing of wildlife, and includes but is not limited to following or approaching wildlife for the purpose of photographing wildlife, feeding or baiting wildlife, touching wildlife or throwing an object at or near wildlife;

This order is effective July 24, 2023, at 9:00, and remains in effect until repealed by further order;"

This will hopefully be especially beneficial at places like Boundary Bay and Brunswick Point where Owls are subject to harassment and Coquitlam where bears are frequently harassed. Enforcement will be key and with these new regulations in place it will help Conservation Officers to successfully charge these people. Hopefully this will help deter the would-be harassers. New signage will be going up in affected WMA’s in the New Year.

If you see anyone harassing wildlife in the WMA’s or anywhere else please call the BC Conservation Service at 1-877-952-7277.

Snowy Owls are frequently subjected to harassment when they visit South Coastal, BC - Photo: Melissa Hafting


  1. Yeah! What fantastic news to help protect our vulnerable wildlife from unethical behaviour! Thank you Melissa for getting the word out on this delicate subject which will hopefully stop wild birds from harassment for the sake of a "better photograph" mere human selfishness! Survival of many overwintering and threatened species will benefit greatly from this improved legal definition !

    1. Thanks Debbi it is good that Conservation Officers now have definite language of what constitutes harassment and that they have included unethical photography and flushing here including throwing rocks and sticks. CO's will now be more eager to pursue charges in court and it is imperative people report take video and photography evidence and get license plates for the CO's.

  2. This is great news, and instructive language for other communities to use for similar wildlife /human interactions resulting from photography and viewing (vs hunting). Here in Skagit County in WA state we have the Be Bird Wise campaign (a coalition of various agencies, organizations and private citizens) to remind visitors of the working, privately owned land of the valley, road safety and respectful wildlife viewing. We’re using signage on private property and a unique website and social media to get the word out. The campaign is limited to Fir Island for now, the site of two public viewing areas and fields where snow geese gather in the thousands.

    1. That's good but hopefully it becomes law and spreads from just fir island as I find from here suggestive signing doesn't work unless there is real enforcement and fines

  3. Great news, thanks for sharing.


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