As of 30 November this year, trophy hunters will no longer be allowed to hunt grizzly bears in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
By law, hunters must stay clear of the Great Bear Rainforest although they will still be allowed to hunt for food in other parts of the province.
The news has been a cause for celebration among environmental activists, however some are worried there could be a loophole for trophy hunters which will mean bears could still be killed under the premise of using their flesh for food.
BREAKING: BC government will end the Grizzly Bear trophy hunt on November 30th, and halt all Grizzly hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest. pic.twitter.com/JVGjwEZwaF
— Scott Cunningham (@CTVNewsScott) August 14, 2017
There are around 15,000 of these loveable bears living in British Columbia and it’s reported that around 250 are killed by trophy hunters each year.
Despite this level of hunting being viewed as sustainable by some, public attitudes towards hunting grizzly bears has changed, and this policy is intended to reflect modern Canadian sensibilities.
BC banning grizzly bear trophy hunt. Hunting for food still allowed. Ban starts Nov 30, so this yrs hunt will start tomorrow unaffected. pic.twitter.com/88u40370gH
— Nafeesa Karim (@nafeesakarim) August 14, 2017
Speaking to CBC, Natural Resources Minister Doug Donaldson explained the reasoning behind this policy shift:
[It’s] 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.
The new policy has sparked fierce criticism from hunting guides – some believe the government are focusing on the wrong issues.
Mark Werner of the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. expressed his ‘disappointment’:
If you want to do something great for grizzly bears, let’s work on habitat. Shutting down small businesses in this province isn’t going to help grizzly bears.
Grizzly bear says hello pic.twitter.com/nCI2fqhYut
— Nature Photography (@NaturePH0T0S) August 13, 2017
— Stephen Stewart (@stewartetcie) August 15, 2017
Despite the concerns over potential loopholes, environmental groups have praised the Canadian government for making a positive step forward.
Joe Foy, Wilderness Committee National Campaign Director praised the decision to put a stop to the ‘cruel and barbaric blood sport’:
We’re glad the senseless killing of grizzly bears is coming to an end. Now this at-risk species has a better chance to recover.
If you’re still not convinced how much you love grizzlys, check out this dancing bear:
[ooyala code=”sydjdiYzE6Su4ZBf20a2QkkowzcqGBkw” player_id=”5df2ff5a35d24237905833bd032cd5d8″ auto=”true” width=”854″ height=”480″ pcode=”twa2oyOnjiGwU8-cvdRQbrVTiR2l”]
It’s not yet fully understood how these regulations will be implemented but Doug Donaldson stated, ‘hunters will no longer be able to possess the hide or the head or the paws of the grizzly bear’.
The final grizzly bear hunting season will be opening in various parts of British Columbia next week.