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Province disputes Indian bear-hunting ban

  |   Sept. 13, 2012 at 9:47 AM
VICTORIA, British Columbia, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A tribal-declared ban on trophy bear hunting in northern British Columbia is meaningless and beyond the tribes' authority, provincial officials said.

Five Coastal First Nations tribes in and around the Great Bear Rainforest, home to at least 8,000 black bears, issued a statement Wednesday banning trophy hunting of the bears, the Globe and Mail reported.

Spokesman Chief Doug Neasloss, who works as a bear-watching guide, said the tribes were frustrated by government inaction.

"Despite years of effort by the Coastal First Nations to find a resolution to this issue with the province this senseless and brutal trophy hunt continues," he said. "We will now assume the authority to monitor and enforce a closure of this senseless trophy hunt."

Trophy hunters kill the bears, take the head, pelt and claws and leave the carcasses behind, the tribes said.

The statement didn't say how the ban would be enforced.

Regardless, Provincial Forests and Lands Minister Steve Thomson said the tribes have no authority on issuing bans.

"I'm disappointed in the declaration that they've taken," he said. "Given that the province has the responsibility for setting the harvest limits, we'd ask them to respect that authority."

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