Grizzly bear hunting is a divisive topic in B.C., but human conflicts and habitat loss are bigger risks. (Black Press files)

Grizzly bear trophy hunting over in B.C.

NDP government says 2017 hunt was the last one

B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson is making an announcement today on the NDP government’s next steps in ending trophy hunting of grizzly bears.

The fall grizzly hunting season ended Nov. 30, with new rules to take effect that allow hunters to take bear meat but not the head, paws or hide of bears that are prized as trophies.

The forests ministry estimates that about 250 of B.C.’s 1,500 grizzly bears are taken by hunters each year, in a limited-entry lottery hunt open to resident and non-resident hunters.

An October 2017 report on the hunt by B.C. Auditor General Carole Bellringer found that hunting is not the biggest threat to bears. It found that from 2006 to 2015, there were 389 bears killed as a result of human-bear conflicts. The greatest risk to B.C.’s grizzly bear population is not hunting but degradation of habitat from forestry, oil and gas development and human settlement, Bellringer concluded.

In 2016, wildlife biologists from the University of Alberta and the University of Minnesota gave the B.C. government a passing mark for management of its grizzly hunt, making 51 recommendations for improving habitat protection and population estimates.

more to come…

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