10 First Nations say B.C. government has ignored calls for ban on bear hunting

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KLEMTU, B.C. - A coalition of 10 First Nations on B.C.'s north and central coast says years of urging the government to ban trophy bear hunting in its territory hasn't worked so now it has declared its own moratorium.

But coalition spokesman William Housty (HOUSE-tee) of the Heiltsuk (HEL-tik) First Nation admits enforcing the ban won't be easy without the province making trophy hunting illegal.

Housty says the First Nations don't have the authority to impose a ban and that hunters and poachers who leave bear carcasses lying around have ignored signs urging them to stop the practice.

He says trophy hunting threatens the First Nations' lucrative ecotourism opportunities, but the province has ignored such concerns.

The First Nations say they want a voice in how the territory is managed, and that includes the bear hunt, which opened for the season last Monday.

Housty says guides are making money selling hunting tags, and pressure from them may be one reason why successive governments have failed to take the First Nations' concerns seriously.

Organizations: First Nations

Geographic location: B.C., KLEMTU

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