Last year, Minnesota professional hockey player Clayton Stoner reportedly shot and killed a young male grizzly bear before skinning him and hacking off his head and paws to mount as trophies. But Stoner was not alone. He killed the young grizzly during British Columbia’s annual trophy grizzly bear hunt, which sees over 250 bears killed for trophies each year.

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British Columbia’s government said that they plan to expand the areas open to trophy hunting, including the province’s Kootenay region. While the bears are listed as “threatened” under theAmerican Endangered Species Act, and protected in the lower 48 states, they tend to wander over borders, leaving them exposed to hunters.

Conservationists and environmentalists expressed concern that hunting grizzlies (as well as black bears) could have a devastating impact upon the Great Bear Rainforest’s sensitive ecosystem. There used to be a moratorium on the hunting of bears for sport, but the ban was overturned in 2001. Speaking to The Guardian, Andrew Weaver, BC’s first and only elected MLA from BC’s Green Party, says he is trying to implement a permanent ban on hunting bears for trophies.

“I don’t even like to call it a ‘hunt,'” he said. “It mixes things up with the hunters who hunt for food. I call it trophy killing.”

In addition to the fact that shooting bears to make trophies of their limbs and heads is absolutely horrific, there are scientific and economic reasons to not shoot bears. A study published last month by the Washington DC-based Center for Responsible Travel stated that bear-watching eco tours generated over 12 times as much revenue as trophy hunting, and provided nearly 50 times. Companies that offer bear-watching tours reported over 11,000 visitors in 2012, compared to the 186 hunters the annual hunt brings in.

Amazingly, a lot of the state’s hunters agree. A McAllister survey found that95 percent of the hunters they polled oppose hunting unless you are prepared to eat what you kill. Many opposed killing for fun and/or sport.

Via The Guardian

Images via Scott_Calleja and lowjumpingfrog