B.C. Con­ser­va­tion Ser­vice de­fends three arrests as of­fi­cers shoot prob­lem bears

The Prince George Citizen - - News - Beth LEIGHTON

VAN­COU­VER — Bri­tish Columbia’s Con­ser­va­tion Of­fi­cer Ser­vice said four bears were eu­th­a­nized fol­low­ing two sep­a­rate in­ci­dents, one of which in­volved the ar­rest of three peo­ple over al­le­ga­tions they tried to ob­struct the work of their of­fi­cers.

Insp. Mur­ray Smith said two men and a woman in the Metro Van­cou­ver sub­urb of Co­quit­lam were taken into cus­tody and charged Tues­day with ob­struct­ing a con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer for al­legedly step­ping be­tween the of­fi­cers and a mother black bear with two cubs.

Of­fi­cers were try­ing to di­rect the se­verely ha­bit­u­ated, garbagerai­d­ing bears up a tree so they could be tran­quil­ized and eu­th­a­nized, but the al­leged in­ter­fer­ence put of­fi­cers and the pub­lic at risk, Smith said dur­ing a con­fer­ence call with re­porters.

He de­scribed a sep­a­rate, equally challengin­g bear en­counter faced by con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cers on the same day 200 kilo­me­tres away on a re­mote sec­tion of B.C.’s Sun­shine Coast north of Pow­ell River.

A 45-year-old Quadra Is­land man had been at­tacked by a three- to five-year-old griz­zly on Mon­day, but de­spite in­juries to his legs and torso the man had man­aged to slash the bear with a knife, scar­ing it off.

“The Con­ser­va­tion Of­fi­cer Ser­vice at­tended to the lo­ca­tion Tues­day morn­ing and lo­cated a griz­zly bear which had be­gun to stalk the of­fi­cers from the rear while they were search­ing for the bear in the for­est,” said Smith.

The healthy, male bear was eu­th­a­nized and Smith said of­fi­cers dis­cov­ered it had a sig­nif­i­cant neck wound, con­firm­ing it was the an­i­mal in­jured the day ear­lier dur­ing the un­pro­voked at­tack on the Quadra Is­land man.

A necropsy was be­ing con­ducted but re­sults were not avail­able Wednes­day.

The in­jured man was be­ing treated in hos­pi­tal for his in­juries and was ex­pected to make a full re­cov­ery, Smith said, adding the ser­vice was still try­ing to de­ter­mine what had prompted the at­tack.

He said the griz­zly was killed be­cause it was threat­en­ing the con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cers, while the sow and seven-month-old cubs were eu­th­a­nized be­cause they were no longer fear­ful of hu­mans and were ha­bit­u­ated to hu­man garbage.

“They should be fairly healthy, quite ro­bust bears, about 50 pounds,” Smith said, de­scrib­ing the cubs.

“Ap­par­ently, these bears were half that weight, un­der­sized and ap­peared un­der­nour­ished.”

The Con­ser­va­tion Of­fi­cer Ser­vice was also within its right to seek the ar­rest of the three res­i­dents who al­legedly in­ter­fered and seize their cell­phones, Smith told re­porters.

“Un­der pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tion, the Wildlife Act of Bri­tish Columbia, as well as the Crim­i­nal Code of Canada, there is author­ity there to seize ev­i­dence as­so­ci­ated with the com­mis­sion of a crime and in this case, this is an in­ves­ti­ga­tion as­so­ci­ated to a crim­i­nal of­fence.”

The phones would be re­turned once in­ves­ti­ga­tors de­ter­mined if any ev­i­dence of ob­struc­tion ex­ists, said Smith.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.