In an announcement by Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson, and Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman, British Columbia is ending the practice of hunting grizzly bears.
“Through consultations this past fall, we have listened to what British Columbians have to say on this issue and it is abundantly clear that the grizzly hunt is not in line with their values,” Donaldson said.
“Our government continues to support hunting in this province and recognizes our hunting heritage is of great importance to many British Columbians.”
The ban takes effect immediately, effectively cancelling the spring bear hunting season which was scheduled to begin on April 1.
“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,” Heyman said.
“We also want to promote the healthy grizzly bear viewing economy in B.C. and give everyone the tremendous opportunity to see these incredible animals in their natural habitat.”
Advocates for wildlife are ecstatic about the decision. A lengthy process of consulting First Nations and the general public, 78% of respondents recommended that the hunts be stopped all together.
“After years of work on this file, my colleagues and I are absolutely overjoyed this decision has finally been made,” Adam Olsen, Green MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, said after the announcement was made.
“The results of the consultation were clear and government has listened. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Last August, the government of B.C. announced a ban on trophy hunting grizzly bears as well as all hunting of the bears in the Great Bear Rainforest.