Conservation officers search for a bear in the area of Gyro Recreation Park in late November. (Susan Quinn/Alberni Valley News)

B.C. Conservation Service defends three arrests as officers shoot problem bears

Three people charged under BC Wildlife Act in Coquitlam

B.C.’s Conservation Officer Service said four bears were euthanized following two separate incidents, one of which involved the arrest of three people over allegations they tried to obstruct the work of their officers.

Insp. Murray Smith said two men and a woman in Coquitlam were taken into custody and charged Tuesday with obstructing a conservation officer for allegedly stepping between the officers and a mother black bear with two cubs.

Officers were trying to direct the severely habituated, garbage-raiding bears up a tree so they could be tranquilized and euthanized, but the alleged interference put officers and the public at risk, Smith said during a conference call with reporters.

He described a separate, equally challenging bear encounter faced by conservation officers on the same day 200 kilometres away on a remote section of B.C.’s Sunshine Coast north of Powell River.

A 45-year-old Quadra Island man had been attacked by a three- to five-year-old grizzly on Monday, but despite injuries to his legs and torso the man had managed to slash the bear with a knife, scaring it off.

“The Conservation Officer Service attended to the location Tuesday morning and located a grizzly bear which had begun to stalk the officers from the rear while they were searching for the bear in the forest,” said Smith.

The healthy, male bear was euthanized and Smith said officers discovered it had a significant neck wound, confirming it was the animal injured the day earlier during the unprovoked attack on the Quadra Island man.

READ MORE: ‘Predatory’ grizzly euthanized after Quadra Island man survives attack

A necropsy was being conducted but results were not available Wednesday.

The injured man was being treated in hospital for his injuries and was expected to make a full recovery, Smith said, adding the service was still trying to determine what had prompted the attack.

He said the grizzly was killed because it was threatening the conservation officers, while the sow and seven-month-old cubs were euthanized because they were no longer fearful of humans and were habituated to human garbage.

“They should be fairly healthy, quite robust bears, about 50 pounds,” Smith said, describing the cubs.

“Apparently, these bears were half that weight, undersized and appeared undernourished.”

The Conservation Officer Service was also within its right to seek the arrest of the three residents who allegedly interfered and seize their cellphones, Smith told reporters.

“Under provincial legislation, the Wildlife Act of British Columbia, as well as the Criminal Code of Canada, there is authority there to seize evidence associated with the commission of a crime and in this case, this is an investigation associated to a criminal offence.”

The phones would be returned once investigators determined if any evidence of obstruction exists, said Smith.

Beth Leighton, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nelson and Rossland accepted as interveners in Supreme Court of Canada carbon pricing case

Victoria, Vancouver, Squamish, and Richmond also have intervener status

GREG SCOTT: Kootenay Lake’s West Arm freezes over

From the files of the Nelson Daily News

COLUMN: Mark your calendars for library’s centennial

The Nelson Library was founded in 1920 and will celebrate on Jan. 17

Rapping mom busts rhymes for Castlegar rec centre kid’s drop-in

Funny video with important message about importance of service

CP Holiday Train headed to Castlegar

The festive food bank fundraiser will take place December 12.

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Most Read