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Grizzly bear trophy hunt coming to an end

Effective Nov. 30, 2017, the British Columbia government will end grizzly bear trophy hunting throughout the province and stop all hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest, Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson announced today.

“By bringing trophy hunting of grizzlies to an end, we’re delivering on our commitment to British Columbians,” Donaldson said, in a press release. “This action is supported by the vast majority of people across our province. In particular, we owe it to generations past and future to do all we can to protect the beauty and uniqueness of the Great Bear Rainforest. We believe the action we’re taking goes beyond the commitment to Coastal First Nations made as part of the 2016 Great Bear Rainforest agreements.”

There are an estimated 15,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia. Each year, approximately 250 are taken by hunters, according to the government press release. While the trophy hunt will end, hunting for meat will be allowed to continue.

During the fall months, Donaldson said that government will consult with First Nations and stakeholder groups to determine next steps and mechanisms as B.C. moves toward ending the trophy hunt. Additionally, government will be moving forward with a broader consultation process on a renewed wildlife management strategy for the province.

“The key elements of that strategy will include dedicated funding for wildlife and habitat conservation and a collaborative process in developing short and long-term plans for wildlife resources,” Donaldson said.

The move is being hailed by the group Pacific Wild, which has long lobbied for the end of the trophy hunt, but would rather see the cancellation immediately.

“Todays announcement by the NDP with the support of the BC Green Party is long overdue and Pacific Wild congratulates Premier Horgan for taking this interim step towards the protection of one of our most iconic and magnificent land mammals,” said Pacific Wild’s Executive Director Ian McAllister. “However, the fact that this seasons fall trophy hunt will still go forward allowing hundreds of grizzly bears to die an unnecessary death makes this announcement hard to celebrate.”

The other contention is that the government is allowing for grizzly bears to be killed for trophy as long as meat is taken from the carcass.

“Clearly the government choked and once again capitulated to the trophy hunters by ensuring that grizzly bears can still be killed, only now they take some of the meat with them in addition to the trophy hide,” said McAllister.

“There is simply no scientific, ethical or economic rationale to continue the trophy hunt and banning it will be celebrated around the world,” said Pacific Wild’s Krista Roessingh. “We urge the province to make the ban complete and not allow for the loophole of killing grizzly bears for meat instead of for a trophy – no one hunts grizzly bears for meat so this should be simply taken off the table.”

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