Victoria: The British Columbia government is bringing an end to the hunting of grizzly bears throughout the province, Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, announced on 18 December.
The population of grizzly bears in British Columbia is estimated around 15,000.
“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 adding “Our government continues to support hunting in this province and recognizes our hunting heritage is of great importance to many British Columbians.”
The spring grizzly bear hunt was scheduled to open on April 1, 2018, but the ban on hunting for resident and non-resident hunters takes effect immediately.
“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.”
Adam Olsen, Green MLA for Saanich North and the Islands said: “After years of work on this file, my colleagues and I are absolutely overjoyed this decision has finally been made.”
In August 2017, the BC government had announced that, from 30 November, 2017, it would end trophy hunting of grizzly bears and stop all hunting of grizzly bears in the Great Bear Rainforest. Government also announced it would launch a consultation process on regulations and 78% of respondents, who joined the consultations subsequently recommended the hunt be stopped in absolute terms.
Doug Donaldson had made the following statement earlier in December regarding the grizzly bear hunt:
“In October, we launched a consultation process to help inform regulation development with respect to the future of the grizzly bear hunt in British Columbia.
“The public engagement period was Oct. 2, 2017 until Nov. 2, 2017. First Nations throughout the province were engaged, and 15 meetings with key stakeholder groups were held. Approximately 4,200 written responses were received.
“Based on the feedback received, we’re assessing all input and will be releasing a consultation report, including any new policy direction, in the near future.”