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

Jennifer Bonnell


In stock

Winner of the 2023 Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing from the BC Historical Federation and the 2023 Clio Prize for best book on British Columbia history from the Canadian Historical Association. Finalist for the 2024 Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize from the BC & Yukon Book Prizes.

From a local and global perspective, the plants and animals of British Columbia are a gift. Exploitation for profit could have destroyed much of this heritage were it not for the hard work and dedication of a small group of people in the nick of time. This book thoroughly recounts the struggles and important victories to preserve and protect this heritage.  –  Robert Bateman

Jennifer Bonnell presents a masterful history of BC wildlife by situating the fate of wild things — whether finned, feathered or four-footed — within the context of the province’s economic, political, and cultural transformations over time. Stewards of Splendour is more than just a BC history. It is essential reading for anyone sensing the intrinsic value of wildlife in its deep historical relationship with humanity.  – George Colpitts, Professor of History, University of Calgary and author of Game in the Garden: A Human History of Wildlife in Western Canada to 1940

From concern over dwindling orca populations to debates over the effects of hunting, resource extraction, roads and infrastructure, the subject of wildlife both unites and deeply divides British Columbians.

Spanning the deep history of human relationships with wildlife, from pre-contact Indigenous land stewardship to the present day, Stewards of Splendour explores the ways that scientists, Indigenous leaders, hunter-conservationists and naturalists have contributed to and contested wildlife management practices in British Columbia.

Drawing upon historical and scientific literature and over 80 interviews, the book examines 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.

As it has in the past, 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.

The Royal Museum Shop is operated by the Royal BC Museum Foundation. All proceeds from the sale of merchandise go directly towards supporting the many fine programs and special events at the Royal BC Museum.

September 2023, 496 pages

ISBN 9780772680907


Jennifer Bonnell teaches Canadian and environmental history at York University in Toronto. She is the author of Reclaiming the Don: An Environmental History of Toronto’s Don River Valley.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Stewards of Splendour: A History of Wildlife and People in British Columbia”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *