Stewards of Splendour

Stewards of Splendour: A History of Wildlife and People in British Columbia

Royal British Columbia Museum Publications, 2023

Available in paper from the Royal BC Museum Shop or a bookseller near you | 

John Pritchard packing out a black-tailed deer, Comox, 13 November 1939, BC Archives, Item #51793.

Stewards of Splendour explores the history of wildlife conservation in British Columbia, from pre-contact Indigenous stewardship to the present. Across thirteen richly illustrated chapters, it examines the ways that scientists, Indigenous leaders, hunter-conservationists and naturalists contributed to and contested wildlife management practices in the province.

Drawing upon historical and scientific literature and over eighty interviews with wildlife biologists, Indigenous leaders, hunters, anglers, naturalists, and conservationists, the book follows individuals, organizations, and communities in their efforts to protect wildlife habitat against the rapid twentieth-century expansion of logging, mining, and hydro-electric developments.

It documents the effects of rising scientific understanding and public appreciation for the province’s fish and wildlife and the gradual reclamation of land and management authority by First Nations. Then, as now, Canada’s western-most province, with its astonishing biodiversity and unusually high proportion of public land, continues to carry the greatest opportunities for wildlife conservation and to risk the greatest losses.

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