Someone shot a grizzly bear dead and dragged its body into a river to get rid of it. Now conservation officers in Canada want to know who did it — and why.
The Conservation Officer Service is asking for the public’s help finding the person responsible for the illegal killing, officials said in an Aug. 30 post on Facebook.
The bear’s body was found floating in the Squamish River in British Columbia on Aug. 10, the post says. The necropsy showed it had been shot to death in sometime between Aug. 7 and 9, and a rope was tied around it to drag its body into the river.
The bear had a yellow ear tag and would sometimes show up near the joining of the Cheakamus River and the Squamish River, officials said.
Grizzly bears are protected under the Canada Wildlife Act, and there’s no open season for hunting grizzlies, officials said. It’s illegal not to report an accidental or defensive shooting of a wild animal.
A first conviction can carry a $100,000 fine, a one-year prison sentence, or both, officials said.
Anyone with information should call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277. Officials are offering a reward for information, and callers can stay anonymous.
The health of grizzly populations has been a concern in British Columbia in recent years, The Guardian reported.
The province stopped grizzly bear trophy hunting in 2017 after public backlash, the outlet reported. Officials estimated at the time there were about 15,000 grizzlies left in British Columbia, the outlet reported.
First Nations (a grouping of Indigenous people in Canada) are permitted to hunt the bears “for food, social, or ceremonial purposes, or as part of an exercise of their treaty rights,” the outlet reported.
Wayne McCrory, who has studied bears in British Columbia for more than 40 years as a biologist, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation the killing left him “disgusted.”
“I really hope that the Conservation Officers are able to catch the person and bring them to prosecution and throw the book at them,” he told the outlet. “I just hope there’s somebody out there who knows something.”