Roadside bear kills raise monitoring concerns

JULY 7, 2014

Two mutilated black bears found on a Ladysmith roadside last month have prompted one conservation specialist to compare Vancouver Island’s remote hunting areas to the “wild west.”

Experts say the incident is part of a wider problem that is insufficient monitoring and enforcement from the conservation office service following ongoing provincial funding cuts.

Even though the kill was during bear hunting season, officials aren’t able to confirm if it was legal or not.

Ladysmith resident George Fredrickson found the two black bear carcasses while he was out for his usual after-dinner walk with his dog on South Watts Road in mid-June.

He saw a congregation of about 10 birds ahead of him and was shocked to come closer and see the birds picking at two butchered bears: one with its legs completely shorn of meat and fur but feet and hide intact, the other with a paw cut off and strewn several feet away.

When he revisited the scene one week later, only blood stains and a pelvic bone remained. He was relieved to see the mess cleaned up but shocked to have seen such a gory sight on a normally peaceful logging road…

Raincoast Conservation Foundation executive director Chris Genovali said that he would argue many remote areas “border on the wild west” where hunters can do whatever they want because nobody is watching.

“There have been serious cutbacks to the conservation office service that have happened under the Liberal government over the years,” he said.

“What kind of monitoring and enforcement is there, really, out in these more remote areas? We did a report several years ago looking at the conservation enforcement capability in B.C. in coastal regions and compared it to that of Alaska. B.C. pales in comparison.”

Ongoing B.C. government parks funding cuts total about $10 million in the last decade.

Genovali added, while the conservation office often cites a healthy bear population, the province has no hard numbers on how many there actually are…

To read the full article please visit the Nanaimo Daily News website.

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