Starting November 30th, a new policy will block the hunting of grizzly bears in the Great Bear Rainforest, according to the British Columbian government. Outside of the protected zone, grizzlies can be hunted for food.
There are about 15,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia, of which about 250 are hunted every year. That level of hunting is “sustainable,” according to Doug Donaldson, the province’s minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development. But that didn’t weigh much on the province’s decision to ban trophy hunting.
The decision was “not a matter of numbers, it’s a matter of society has come to the point in B.C. where they are no longer in favour of the grizzly bear trophy hunt.”
Hunting grizzlies for sport became a political issue when the New Democrat Party promised to end trophy hunting. With the NDP beating out the more conservative Liberal Party for the first time in almost two decades, they’re making good on that promise, and environmental activists are rejoicing.
But not every environmental group is as sure of the ban’s effectiveness. In a release, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation expressed skepticism over the ban, stating that “to ensure a so-called food hunt and de-incentivize the killing of grizzlies, all trophy parts of the bear, such as the head, the hide and the paws, would have to be surrendered by hunters to provincial wildlife authorities.”
The government of British Columbia is not completely settled on how the ban is going to shake out. Donaldson says that bear parts are no longer going to be allowed to leave the province, and hunters will no longer be allowed to possess the heads, hide, or paws of the bears.
British Columbia intends to “consult with First Nations and stakeholder groups to determine next steps and mechanisms as B.C. moves toward ending the trophy hunt.”