B.C. puts more land off limits to bear hunting

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 (All day)
CTVBC.ca

Photo: Knight Inlet Lodge

The provincial government has taken a big step toward protecting British Columbia's grizzly and black bear populations.

New legislation has shut down an additional 470,000 hectares to grizzly bear hunting, and another 122,000 hectares to black bear hunting.

The prohibited areas are spread out on B.C.'s central and north coast, and include areas where white-phase black bears more commonly known as Kermode, or "Spirit Bears" are found. The prohibited areas are spread out on B.C.'s central and north coast, and include areas where white-phase black bears more commonly known as Kermode, or "Spirit Bears" are found.

The light coloring stems from the fact that the bears have a defective gene.

The addition means the total area closed to grizzly bear hunting along the central and north coast has increased to 1.9 million hectares.

But some advocates say it's still not enough.

"We have something really special in British Columbia and that's grizzly bears. so let's not hunt them and let's put a moratorium in place, let's invite the world to see grizzly bears in the wild which you can't see really anywhere else in the world,'' said Gwen Barlee a director with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee.

Penalties for anyone found hunting in any prohibited areas start at a $100,000 fine and or a year in prison.