British Columbia Bans Grizzly Bear Hunting After Mass Public Opposition

British Columbia has introduced a bill which puts a ban on hunting-down grizzly bears for meat after finding more than 75% of residents, Aboriginal groups and stakeholders were opposed to it.

The Canadian province, who banned trophy hunting less than a month ago, says the move will also form part of wider efforts to protect the species from declining numbers.

(Image: Adam Willoughby-Knox via Unsplash)

Government officials announced the news on December 18, assuring those who rallied for the legislative change (78%) that the grizzly hunting season would no longer open on April 1.

In a statement, minister of forests, lands and natural resources Doug Donaldson said the decision was taken after consultations that were conducted earlier in the 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."

Coastal First Nations, a unique alliance of nine native communities, have celebrated the expanded prohibition as an "important step toward reconciliation."

"Our cultures and economies are tied directly to the health of the ecosystems in our territories," says Jessie Housty, member of the Central Coast Bear Working Group.

"Bears are an integral part of these ecosystems," she explains.

In British Columbia, there are an estimated 15,000 grizzly bears, who the Government say play an important role in distributing salmon nutrients into forests and transporting seeds through poo.

Grizzlies had first made headlines this year when Miley Cyrus added her name to a list of campaigners calling on the province to close the "loophole" of hunting for food.

She claims the ban on trophy hunting, which came into effect in November, still allowed the killing of grizzly bears so long as the hunters removed some of the animals' meat.

This loophole, however, has since been eliminated, says Rebecca Aldworth, the Canadian executive director for Humane Society International.

"Grizzly hunting has no place in the 21st century," she told CTV News, "and today's announcement is a crucial step forward in protecting these majestic animals from senseless cruelty."

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