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Petition Gains Momentum For Suspended Officer Who Refused To Kill Bear Cubs

officer who refused to kill bear cubs

An officer who refused to kill bear cubs has been suspended.  After a mother bear was killed by conservation officers for breaking into a meat freezer repeatedly, it turned out she had two baby cubs – and British Columbia conservation officer Brian Casavant was suspended because he refused to kill the brother and sister bears.

According to GrindTV.com [1]:  An online petition [2] in support of Bryan Casavant was close Thursday to achieving its goal of 75,000 signatures, which would be sent to B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak. Perhaps as a result of the pressure, Casavant’s pay has since been reinstated, while an investigation into the matter continues.

Casavant, instead of following orders to euthanize the cubs, delivered them to a veterinary hospital, and they’re now under care at a facility run by the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association.

According to the CBC News [3], the brother-and-sister cubs were captured after they returned to the residence, looking for their mother. The 8-week-old cubs had climbed a tree, where they were calling for their mother.

Casavant, instead of following orders to euthanize the cubs, delivered them to a veterinary hospital, and they’re now under care at a facility run by the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association.

According to the CBC News [3], the brother-and-sister cubs were captured after they returned to the residence, looking for their mother. The 8-week-old cubs had climbed a tree, where they were calling for their mother. (See top video.)

Because the mother bear had become habituated to human food, it’s possible that the cubs had become habituated, also. Relocation is tricky because it often just relocates the problem, and with cubs it becomes even more problematic because they probably would not survive on their own. 

Retired wildlife expert Barrie Gilbert told CBC News that the outcry that has spread on social media–with U.K. actor-comedian Ricky Gervais among those chiming in–has more to do with “heart strings” than conservation [3].

Gilbert said that bear cubs have only a 50-50 chance of survival during their first year with mom anyway, and that a single trip with mom to a freezer full of salmon could be enough to habituate them.

“It’s a value call really,” Gilbert said. “Bears are not threatened at all. There are lots and lots of them. My personal value system is I’d rather see people put their effort into threatened populations like marmots on Vancouver Island.”

Polak said in a statement:

“This is a very sad and unfortunate situation. Although conservation officers must sometimes put down wild animals for the safety of the public and the welfare of the animal, we understand how difficult it is for all involved.”

Sources:

[1] http://www.grindtv.com/wildlife/support-grows-for-officer-suspended-for-refusing-to-kill-orphaned-bear-cubs/#BAiC8Si4WYp0ZhG5.97

[2] https://www.change.org/p/ministry-of-environment-mary-polak-reinstate-conservation-officer-bryce-casavant

[3] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/conservation-officer-suspended-for-refusing-to-kill-bear-cubs-1.3141652

Royce Christyn
About Royce Christyn (3467 Articles)
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