Grizzly bear hunting in British Columbia has been banned.
Announced this morning, the government shifted their view on trophy hunting – moving from a partial ban to a complete end to all grizzly hunting in the province – based on the overwhelming feedback from the public during consultations.
Polls have consistently showed that a vast majority of British Columbians oppose the trophy hunting of grizzlies and, according to media reports, 78% of the public who voiced their opinion during the government’s consultation were in opposition to any form of grizzly hunting. Indeed, the increasing vulnerability of the iconic bruins in the province was a driving force behind the increased protections, as was the realization that bear viewing is an economic force across B.C.. The government is also pledging to help address other threats to grizzlies, including the proliferation of road building in critical habitat.
Though the news will aid bears in the short term, the minority NDP government in BC is vulnerable to defeat and the major opposition party has failed to back a blanket ban on grizzly trophy hunting in the past. As we’ve written before, to save grizzlies for future generations, it’s critical to create policies that have bi-partisan support and bridge the emerging cultural divide between rural and urban communities, while also securing Indigenous backing.
In the case of today’s announcement, First Nations had a lead role in advocating for an end to grizzly hunting and, at least in the case of the BC coast – also known as the Great Bear Rainforest – the ban has all party support. The final legislation put forward in the legislature – and the results of the BC Liberal leadership race – will determine the likelihood of the policy enduring in the long-term across the balance of the province.
Our thanks to all stakeholders who have and continue to work together to find a better balance between the needs of people and nature.