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Conservation officers look for killer of grizzly bear near Squamish, B.C.

The BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) is investigating the illegal killing of a grizzly bear in B.C. near Squamish, saying someone shot the bear before pulling it into the river with a rope.

The service said in a social media post that the dead bear was reported Aug. 10 floating in the Squamish River. The city is located about 65 kilometers north of Vancouver, in a part of Whistler. The indictment indicated that the bear was shot and a rope tied around it was used to drag it into the river.

According to BCCOS, the grizzly is believed to have been killed one to three days before it was reported.

Biologist Wayne McCrory, who has spent more than 40 years studying B.C. bears, said he was “disgusted” by the killing.

“I really hope that conservation officers can catch the person and prosecute them and throw the book at them,” said McCrory, who said he plans to offer a reward for information that leads to prosecution.

“I just hope there’s someone out there who knows something.”

Grizzly hunting has been banned in BC since 2017, except for ceremonial hunts by First Nations.

Failure to report accidental or defensive shootings of wildlife is also illegal, according to BCCOS. If convicted the first time, the service said, a person could be fined up to $100,000 and jailed for a year.

BC  Close-up of security guard's shoulder pad.
The BC Conservation Officer Service says it is looking for the person who illegally shot a grizzly bear and dumped its body in the Squamish River. (John Hernandez/CBC)

No one from BCCOS was available for an interview, according to a member of the communications team at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

McCrory said serious efforts have been made to try to restore the grizzly population in the region, where they are not as common as in other parts of the state. He said it was sad to see such a killing take place.

“Because someone is doing it undercover and taking it, it doesn’t seem like they could have had a legitimate reason, and if they did, there were other ways to deal with it,” McCrory said.

BCCOS says the bear was moved from Squamish about three years ago and had a yellow ear. It was known to frequent the area around the confluence of the Chekamus 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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