The Canadian province of British Columbia has banned grizzly bear hunting following mass public opposition.
British Columbia is home to approximately 15,000 grizzly bears, about a quarter of the entire North American population. The province has passed a bill to ban hunting animals for meat after a survey discovered that 75% of the population was opposed to it. This included residents, aboriginal groups, and stakeholders. This ban comes into effect just a month after a bill was past to ban trophy hunting of bears.
A statement from British Columbia’s minister of forests, lands, and natural resources, Doug Donaldson was released on Monday. He said
“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.”
Across the province, 91% of citizens agreed with the trophy hunt ban which prompted the further ban on meat hunting. Coast First Nations, an alliance of nine native communities including the Wuikinuxv, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk, Gitga’at, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate, and Council of the Haida Nation, have backed the expanded ban
“We want to congratulate the BC government for enacting a grizzly bear hunting ban in Coastal First Nations territories, which is in line with our Indigenous Laws,” said Jessie Housty, a member of the Coastal First Nations Central Coast Bear Working Group. She went on to say
“Our cultures and economies are tied directly to the health of the ecosystems in our territories. Bears are an integral part of these ecosystems,”
According to www.env.gov.bc.ca. They are an important “umbrella” species, as landscapes that support healthy Grizzly bear populations will be able to sustain many other species. Grizzly bears play a key role in maintaining healthy ecosystems, for example, by distributing salmon nutrients into forests, and transporting seeds through their feces.
Earlier this year grizzly bear hunting hit the headlines after actress/singer Miley Cyrus added her name to a list of campaigners calling on the B.C government to close a loophole in the hunting laws which allowed hunters to kill bears with the condition that some of the animal’s meat was removed for consumption.
With the full ban in place, the loophole has now been closed. Penalties prior to the ban were up to $10,000 under the Wildlife Act for hunting without a proper license and banned from hunting for three years for non–residents.