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Canadian province bans grizzly bear hunting

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 1:44 PM - B.C. is formally bringing an end to grizzly bear hunting in the province, weeks after the close of the last grizzly hunting season.

The government, led by the NDP and supported by the B.C. Greens, announced the ban on Monday, after holding consultations over the past few months. The government says some 78 per cent of the more than 4,000 people who took part in consultations supported a ban, which takes effect immediately.

"It's mostly a social values issue," Forestry Minister Doug Donaldson told CBC News Monday. "When it comes down to it, this species is seen as an iconic species for B.C., and people just weren't willing to accept the hunting of grizzly bears anymore in this province."

First Nations, who hunt the grizzly for food, cultural or ceremonial reasons, are exempt from the ban.

The B.C. grizzly population is estimated to number around 15,000 individuals. They are considered a species of Special Concern by the federal Committee on the Status of Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

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Conservation groups have largely reacted positively to the ban, but outfitter groups quoted by media were less receptive. 

CTV News reports some 1,700 grizzly hunting permits were issued in 2017, with around 300 bears killed annually, mostly by B.C. hunters, and CBC News says guides can charge $17,000 to take clients on a grizzly hunt. Donaldson says the government will consult with outfitters about support for a transition away from grizzly hunting, but the executive director of the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C., Scott Ellis, told CTV some guides will likely go out of business as a result of the new ban.

"Wildlife management is complex ... and when emotions get involved lots of times we don't make the best decisions," he told the broadcaster.

WATCH BELOW: Dog saves hikers being chased by bear in Banff National Park

SOURCES: Government of B.C. | CBC News | CTV News

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