The provincial government is ending the grizzly bear hunt.
“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,” said Forests Minister Doug Donaldson in a news release. “Our government continues to support hunting in this province and recognizes our hunting heritage is of great importance to many British Columbians.”
The ban on hunting — which applies to both resident and non-resident hunters — takes effect immediately.
In August 2017, the new NDP-Green government announced that, effective Nov. 30, 2017, it would end trophy hunting of grizzly bears and stop all hunting of grizzly bears in the Great Bear Rainforest.
The province also said it would launch a consultation process on regulations to support a sustenance hunt, while ending the trophy hunt.
Through the consultation process with First Nations, stakeholder groups and the public, 78 per cent of respondents recommended the hunt be stopped entirely.
First Nations will still be able to hunt grizzlies pursuant to Aboriginal rights for food, social, or ceremonial purposes, or treaty rights.
There are an estimated 15,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia, according to provincial statistics.
In March, the Grizzly Bear Foundation said during the last four years, the province has allowed up to 573 grizzlies to be killed each year, about nearly four per cent of B.C.’s grizzly population.
The number of grizzly bears in the Squamish-Lillooet region has slightly increased to about 59, however, the animals are still considered threatened in the area, as the population is too small relative to the size of the territory, the foundation said.