The B.C. NDP has put an end to grizzly bear hunting in the province.
Earlier this year the government banned grizzly bear trophy hunting across B.C. but – outside of the Great Bear Rainforest – hunters were still allowed to shoot bears for meat.
“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 Forest, Lands, and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson in a statement.
LISTEN: B.C. hunters speak out against grizzly hunt ban
According to the government, 78 per cent of respondents recommended grizzly hunting be stopped entirely.
WATCH: Global News coverage of grizzly bear hunting in B.C.
READ MORE: Poll suggests majority of British Columbians support complete ban on grizzly bear hunt
Under the new ban, First Nations will still be able to hunt for food, social and ceremonial purposes or treaty rights.
The spring grizzly hunt season was scheduled to open April 1, 2018, but the government says the new ban takes place effective immediately.
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The Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations has estimated there are 15,000 grizzly bears in B.C., and about 250 are killed each year.
But not everyone is happy with the NDP’s announcement. A non-profit that helps promote hunting and represents many guide outfitters in B.C. is criticizing the move.
“The grizzly bear hunt is the majority of the revenue for [outfitters], so they’re no longer in business,” Executive Director of the Guide Outfitters Association of BC Scott Ellis said.
“When we use polls or political whims to make decisions, they get emotional, they get very complex, and therefore I think they’re poor decisions.”
He said grizzlies face more danger from threats to their habitat than from hunting.
~With files from the Canadian Press and Srushti Gangdev