B.C. Government Bans Black Bear Hunting to Protect Rare Spirit Bear

Responding to a joint proposal by the Kitasoo/Xai’xais and Gitga’at First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest, the government of British Columbia issued a ban on hunting black bears in their territories in order to preserve the spirit or Kermode bear, black bears with a rare genetic mutation turning their coats white. Although it is illegal in British Columbia to hunt spirit bears, the First Nations stewardship groups called for the banning of all black bear hunting given the fact that any black bear could be carrying the spirit bear recessive gene. It is found in approximately one-tenth of black bears in the B.C. Central and North Coast regions. The Ministry of Forests declared a year-round black bear hunting closure from July 1st, 2022 to June 20th, 2024 in 8,158 square kilometres of Great Bear Rainforest between Prince Rupert and Bella Coola. A July 19th announcement stated that the ban has the nations hopeful that a revitalization of the species, who are so culturally important to them, will develop. Read more here and here.