Four bears killed, residents under investigation
Chief Staff Writer
Two area residents are under investigation by the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service for allegedly using weapons that resulted in the deaths of four bears last week.
In the Upper Squamish Valley, a sow and her two cubs were eating fruit from a plum tree when they were shot and killed by a resident who discharged a firearm.
Because the incidents are still under investigation, full details were not disclosed.
"We're investigating two separate incidents where residents have taken matters into their own hands," said Conservation Officer Chris Doyle.
The other incident involved a downtown resident who pulled out his bow and arrow to shoot a black bear in his yard on Wilson Crescent. The bear did not die instantly, but conservation officers had to destroy the bear because he was mortally wounded.
Doyle explained that the law allows somebody to legally shoot an animal that is menacing livestock or a domestic animal or if it is an immediate threat to somebody's safety. But those convicted of illegally shooting an animal under the federal Wildlife Act could face jail time and/or fines of up to $50,000.
"We'll investigate both incidents thoroughly," said Doyle. "If it looks like the shootings weren't justified, we'll submit a report to Crown counsel."
Doyle expressed his concern with residents being responsible for many of the extraordinary bear problems that have happened in Squamish this season.
"We've got a number of ongoing bear problems everywhere in Squamish," said Doyle. "People really, really have to take care of their garbage and pick the fruit off of their trees. Unless people can get rid of attractants that are bringing the bears into town, there will be more problems."