Coastal First Nations react to BC’s announcement to end Trophy Bear Hunt

Vancouver – First Nations, scientists and environmental groups are applauding the BC Government for keeping its promise to end the trophy bear hunt.

The BC NDP announced in a news release on Monday that a new grizzly bear trophy hunting ban will take place this fall in BC, including a complete closure of grizzly hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest. Meat hunting will still reportedly be allowed elsewhere in the province.

Chief Marilyn Slett, president of Coastal First Nations (CFN), says Indigenous communities on the coast have fought to protect bears from cruel and unsustainable trophy hunts for more than a decade. “We believe it is wrong to kill for a sport,” she says, adding that trophy bear hunting is already banned under Indigenous law. “Bears are as much a part of the environment as we are and the majority of British Columbians share this view. We are pleased the Province has come into alignment with our Indigenous laws and believe this is a step in the right direction.”

Jess Housty, a CFN board member, said it is about time the trophy hunt has been banned: “We have been clear killing bears for sport is not part of our culture. It is disappointing that hunters are going to be out on our lands killing bears before the ban comes in effect.”

While the new ban won’t take effect until November 30, 2017, many believe ending the trophy bear hunt will be good for BC and coastal economies.

“The ban supports our Indigenous laws, as well as our coastal economies as we continue to build long-term sustainable industries such as tourism,” says Chief Douglas Neasloss of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation. “The archaic practice of shooting bears for sport is disgusting and I hope the NDP position will set an example for others to follow. I am glad to see the BC Government has secured a place for bears in the Great Bear rainforest. After all, it’s not the Great Bear Rainforest without bears.”

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