COs Look for Information on Bear Killing

Published: May 25, 2016
CONSERVATION officers are asking the public to provide any information they may have as officials look for answers on who shot and killed a bear in the Garibaldi Highlands a few weeks ago. 
“We followed up on a few leads but so far we don’t have evidence to charge anyone although we were able to confirm that the bear was shot with a rifle. We have done some interviews and are trying to get information from the public that can lead us to a stronger case,” said Simon Gravel, Conservation officer for the Sea to Sky zone. 
The 400-pound animal was found lying dead on the front lawn of a house in the Highlands on April 20. Conservation service estimate it was shot between 12:30 am and 4 am and the animal walked up to 300 metres before it died on the front lawn of a house. The police is also working on this case as discharge firearms in a residential area falls under the criminal code. Gravel said it was the first time that a bear had been shot and killed in a residential area in Squamish, although a similar incident was reported from Pemberton where a man a 32-year-old man was convicted of shooting a bear with a crossbow in 2010. 
Neighbours reported a dying bear in the backyard and the investigation revealed it has been shot and killed by an arrow from a neighbouring resident, as reported in the Pique. Alexis Joseph Laferriere was fined $3,000 for two counts under the Wildlife Act in Pemberton Provincial Court. Recently, a family discovered a dead cat in their backyard on the Boulevard Street in Garibaldi Highlands and reported it to the Conservation officers. A distressing sight for those who discovered it, Gravel said it was probably killed by a coyote, wolf or a juvenile cougar.
Gravel said he would like to remind people to keep their pets inside their home. He also asked the public to be Bear Aware, secure attractants, use both locks to secure residential garbage totes at all times, reduce odours by freezing the smelly stuff in a Ziploc bag and not use birdfeeders during bear season or hand feeders at least 10 feet off the ground. Detailed information on how to be Bear Aware is available at WildSafeBC or at the District of Squamish website. Gravel also reminded hunters to be mindful of wildlife disposal. He said the Conservation officers received complaints regarding  improper disposal of wildlife remains by hunters.  
He said some of the complaints include animal parts being dumped in ditches, highway pullouts, near trails, on private property and near residential areas. The few hunters that do this are in violation of the Environmental Management Act: discharge, dump, discard or dispose litter ($115).  Aside from giving hunters a negative public image, the waste can attract pets and dangerous wildlife such as bears.  Violators can be charged under the Wildlife Act for attracting dangerous wildlife (bears) to land or premises ($230-345). Gravel said hunters were reminded to properly dispose of their wildlife parts in a remote area away from hiking/biking trails, campsites, residential areas and watersheds (river, streams and lakes). Disposal can be completed discretely and away from people. The landfill can only be used with small remains in a concealed garbage bag. 
 Following a successful hunt, the correct procedure for the disposal of wildlife is an important step towards whole hunting process. If the public is aware of someone who is dumping wildlife parts in inappropriate areas, please let the Conservation Officer Service know by calling the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at (RAPP) at 1-877-952-7277. The same line can be used to report any information you may have on the April 20 shooting death of the bear in Garibaldi Highlands.