black bear
Alberta, Canada is moving to ban spear hunting of animals after a video of hunter Josh Bowmar impaling a black bear with a long spear sparked outrage — Representational imageReuters

Authorities in Alberta, Canada, are moving to ban spear hunting of bears after a video of a hunter killing a black bear with the weapon went viral and evoked strong criticism. The province's Environment Ministry has ordered a probe into the hunting episode.

The video, which was reportedly posted online in June, showed hunter Josh Bowmar impaling the black bear with a long spear with a camera attached to it. He is then seen boasting about his kill: "I drilled him perfect. That was the longest throw I ever thought I could ever make."

Kyle Ferguson, spokesman for the Alberta environment ministry, slammed Bowmar for the brutal hunting of the animal, terming it "unacceptable" and "archaic." Ferguson said the ministry "will introduce a ban on spear hunting this fall". He also confirmed that the Fish and Wildlife Department officers have been ordered to investigate the hunting incident "to determine if charges are warranted [against Bowmar] under existing laws".

Defending the killing, the javelin thrower told Reuters in an email that it was an ethical act and killing the animal with a spear is more humane than using a bow. "No one cares more about these animals than us hunters", Bowmar added.

Bow hunting is legal in Alberta and the government earned total revenues of CA$18.8m (£11m, $14.6m) by issuing hunting licences in the 2015-2016 season, Reuters reported. In 2015, about 19% of 119,000 big game hunters in the Canadian province purchased archery hunting permits, according to a government website. However, there were no official figures for spear hunting permits issued the same year.