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The New Democratic Party [NDP] of British Columbia announced a ban on grizzly bear hunting in the province early this week.
The ban on hunting for meat went into immediate effect – applicable to all Non-First Nations hunters – and follows November’s ban on trophy hunting.
Of 15,000 estimated grizzlies in B.C., about 300 are killed each year – only 50 by First Nations Peoples – meaning the ban could spare upwards of 200 lives annually.
According to the NDP, the ban was prompted by a survey, which showed hunting is ‘not in line with the values’ of 78 percent of local respondants.
Wilderness Committee rep Joe Foy said: “We are grateful that the Government has finally stepped up to do what the people have asked for which is an end to this barbaric, bloody sport hunt.”
Adam Olsen, Green Party spokesman was ‘overjoyed’ by news of the ‘breakthrough.’
He said: “The results of the government’s consultation were clear and Government has listened – we couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Despite general consensus, the ban is not without opposition.
Scott Ellis, Executive Director of the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C, maintains that the ban is a mistake – citing concerns about the profits of surrounding businesses.
However, Environment Minister George Heyman, says research suggests that viewing of the grizzlies does more for local economy than hunting them.
Pop icon Miley Cyrus joined forces with conservation group Pacific Wild several months ago in an effort to save B.C. grizzlies – drawing attention to the cause and working closely alongside executive director Ian McAllister, who expresses further concerns for the animals.
He said: “The grizzly bear is the second slowest reproducing land mammal in North America, one that’s threatened throughout much of its natural range and habitat.”
Grizzly Bear Foundation Head Rachel Forbes, says the ban, while welcome, is one step of many.
She added: “Now the hard work on addressing all the other cumulative threats to grizzly bears, such as habitat loss and food supply, has to begin.”