BC ends grizzly bear hunt, calls it 'no longer socially acceptable'

BC ends grizzly bear hunt, calls it 'no longer socially acceptable'”

As one of its first major announcements after being sworn in over the summer, the government banned trophy bear hunts across B-C but, outside the Great Bear Rainforest, hunters are still allowed to shoot bears for meat.

"Our government is committed to improving wildlife management in B.C., and today's announcement, along with a focused grizzly bear management plan, are the first steps in protecting one of our most iconic species", Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman said.

Now the NDP has chose to ban the hunting of grizzlies entirely. "The results of the consultation were clear and government has listened".

The public opinion polling firm Insights West surveyed 817 B.C. adults in an online survey in late August, and found that 74 per cent of British Columbians want a total ban on grizzly hunting, with just 19 per cent wanting the hunt to continue.

According to recent polls, over 70 per cent of B.C. residents, including hunters, support a ban on grizzly hunting. (The margin of error of 3.5 per cent, and the survey was commissioned by the anti-trophy hunting Lush Cosmetics and the Commercial Bear Viewing Association). It's been a long time coming.

Critics of the ban say it falls short because it doesn't prevent hunters from taking the head, paws or other parts of a bear or claiming the animal has been shot for meat, not as a trophy.

First Nations will still be able to hunt grizzlies pursuant to Aboriginal rights for food, social, or ceremonial purposes, or treaty rights. Their harvest is expected to minimal. By agreement with local Indigenous communities, all grizzly bear hunting has been stopped in the remote Central and North Coast region known as the Great Bear Rainforest.

Asked if anyone hiking in grizzly territory should be more nervous now, Heyman said the same good advice that applied before, such as making yourself heard to avoid surprising a bear, still apply. During the election campaign, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver supported a food hunt.

There are an estimated 15,000 grizzly bears in B.C. This legislation was meant to give the BC Liberal government a feasible path forward to protecting Grizzly Bears. There are 600,000 kilometres of resource roads and another 10,000 kilometres are added each year, allowing more human access to wilderness areas and the potential for increased illegal killing of grizzly bears.

The province said it would offer transition assistance to guide-outfitters but made no formal promises of cash compensation for lost revenue.

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