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

On the Lawn lawn bowling tournament raises over $28,000 for Kelowna-based charity

On the Lawn has raised over $100,000 for Elevation Outdoors in the past five years

Kelowna man arrested after allegedly setting blaze near Fire Department

The man was allegedly seen lighting bushes on fire near the Kelowna Fire Department

Kelowna mothers to share grief, spread awareness for Overdose Day

Moms Stop the Harm is hosting an event for International Overdose Awareness Day in Kerry Park

Latino-American rock ‘n’ roll band The Mavericks coming to Kelowna

Kelowna is the only B.C. stop on the band’s worldwide tour

UBC Okanagan Heat score 10 goals in pre-season double-header

Two exhibition wins in the U.S. to start the year for the mens Heat squad

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Penticton man sentenced in non-fatal 2017 shooting

Elkena Michael Knauff sentenced to seven and a half months in jail

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Kamloops RCMP locate and arrest man who fled from police

The 22-year-old male was wanted in relation to a domestic violence investigation

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

EDITORIAL: The best or the least worst

Negative messaging abandons the quest for the best and instead asks voters to choose the least worst

Most Read