The B.C. Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) is investigating the illegal killing of a grizzly bear near Squamish, B.C., saying somebody shot the bear before dragging it into the river with rope.
The service said in a post on social media that the dead bear was reported on Aug. 10, floating in the Squamish River. The town is about 65 kilometres north of Vancouver, partway to Whistler. A necropsy showed that the bear had been shot, and a rope tied around it was used to drag it into the river.
According to the BCCOS, the grizzly is believed to have been killed one to three days before it was reported.
Wayne McCrory, a biologist who has studied bears in B.C. for more than 40 years, said he was “disgusted” by the killing.
“I really hope that the Conservation Officers are able to catch the person and bring them to prosecution and throw the book at them,” said McCrory, who said he’s planning to arrange a reward for information that leads to prosecution.
“I just hope there’s somebody out there who knows something.”
Hunting grizzlies in B.C. has been banned since 2017, with the exception of ceremonial hunts by First Nations.
According to the BCCOS, failing to report an accidental or defensive shooting of wildlife is also illegal. If found guilty, on a first conviction, the service said a person could be fined up to $100,000 and get one year in prison.
Nobody from the BCCOS was available for an interview, according to a member of the B.C. Environment and Climate Change Strategy Ministry communications team.
McCrory said there have been serious effort to try to restore the grizzly population in the region, where they aren’t as common as in other parts of the province. He said it’s painful to see this kind of killing happen.
“For somebody to do it surreptitiously and take matters into their own hands — doesn’t sound like they might have had a legitimate reason, and if they did, there were other ways to deal with it,” said McCrory.
The BCCOS said the bear had been relocated from Squamish about three years ago and had a yellow ear tag. It was known to frequent the area around the confluence of the Cheakamus and Squamish rivers.
Anyone with information about the bear’s death is asked to contact the RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) line, and can remain anonymous, by calling 1-877-952-7277.
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