The shooting of Beari the bear cub by Conservation Officers last week has taken a controversial twist, with the Get Bear Smart Society stating that they do not support what happened.
“I am shocked and saddened by the news,” said Sylvia Dolson, director of the Get Bear Smart Society (GBS).
“Killing a 10 pound, seven month old cub is unacceptable, both morally and ethically. It is unjustified and unnecessary,” she said.
Dolson added that GBS is asking the Minister of Environment to undergo an investigation into the recent killings of a dozen other cubs across the province.
Beari was destroyed, along with her mother Juniper, mid-afternoon on Thursday July 12 th after breaking into a residence in Whistler Cay.
Conservation Officer Dave Jeavons was on his way up to the area when he got the call.
“From what I gathered before I got there, the sow and cub were eating food from the kitchen in the back of the house,” said Jeavons.
“Then the sow — with or without the cub, I don’t know for sure — entered the house, and when she exited, she was shot,” he said.
The RCMP also attended the scene, and by the time Jeavons arrived, the sow was dead. Jeavons then shot Beari, who had climbed up a tree.
“There are a lot of factors to consider with how to handle cubs. This particular cub was a conflict animal, whereas cubs that have been abandoned are usually the ones put into rehab institutes like Critter Care,” said Jeavons.
Jeavons added that the cub had learned a lot of aggressive behaviour from its mother. Both had an extensive history of entering residences and approaching people.
“It is extremely unusual for a cub to not have a fear of humans. The behaviour was inappropriate. The sow and cub were both very habituated to people and very conditioned to garbage,” said Jeavons.
“It is always unfortunate when this happens. It is not something you ever want to do. But you have to keep in mind that it is our responsibility to protect public safety,” he said.
He added that he does not think he could have tranquilized the cub without killing it because of its position in the tree.
Dolson argued that Conservation Officers should have allowed the cub to live.
“It is just plain wrong. There is no acceptable argument to justify it. They had no right to take that bear’s life. The bear did nothing wrong. She was still nursing,” said Dolson.