BC Government ends Grizzly Bear trophy hunting

A grizzly bear fishes along a river in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola B.C. Friday Sept 10 2010

Hunters that have been issued permits prior to the announcement will still be allowed to make their kill, Natural Resource Operations Minister Doug Donaldson confirmed.

About 250 grizzlies are killed annually by hunters in B.C., a number Donaldson said is "sustainable" for the population estimated at 15,000 bears, but he said public opinion on the practice has turned.

The ban will also end all grizzly bear hunting in the coastal region known as the Great Bear Rainforest. According to the Toronto Star, numerous hunting permits had already been sold before the new government was formed.

On Monday, B.C.'s NDP government announced that as of November 30 this year, trophy hunting grizzlies will be illegal throughout the province and all grizzly hunting will be banned in the coastal Great Bear Rainforest.

A press release said the government will consult with First Nations and stakeholder groups to determine next steps and mechanisms as B.C. moves toward ending the trophy hunt.

"It's very clear that we will disagree on things, and it's okay to disagree". Eighty-seven per cent of known, human-caused grizzly bear deaths in B.C. are attributable to trophy hunters, who have killed 12,026 grizzly bears since the government began keeping records in 1975.

Bergenske said that what this announcement represents is the NDP trying to meet election promises that they set out and that if they can be held to the broader issue of wildlife and habitat conservation, a bigger impact can be made.

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"By bringing trophy hunting of grizzlies to an end, we're delivering on our commitment to British Columbians", Donaldson said.

Instead, Weaver said he wants to see legislation, along the lines of the Greens' own 2017 bill, which would remove preferential treatment for foreign hunters, and require that all usable meat be taken in any hunt.

"My first reaction is one of delight", Audain said Monday after the news was announced. "Ever since Premier Gordon Campbell reinstated the bloody grizzly trophy hunt, we've been counting the days until the killing stops".

The "desire of trophy hunters to bag a grizzly bear will certainly prevail over the relatively minor expense and annoyance of having to pack the meat out", wrote Chris Genovali and Brian Falconer of Raincoast Conservation Foundation in response to a similar proposal by Andrew Weaver two years ago.

He added: "I'm not sure how this will appease the concerns of anyone".

The prohibition fulfills a pledge by the B.C. NDP during the last election campaign.

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