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

Surrey 37 per cent behind in housing supply projections

Of 18 cities in Metro Vancouver, only City of North Vancouver and Richmond met or exceeded projections

Surrey RCMP asks for public’s help to find missing 15-year-old boy

Prabhjot Singh Gill was last seen Dec. 6 in the area of 140th Street and 66th Avenue

Winning Christmas card art shown at Surrey gallery

Arts Council of Surrey’s annual competition won by Edwin Stephen and Nancy Painter

Delta police campaign shines a light relationship violence

Campaign comes after a Delta man was charged with assault with a weapon and uttering threats

Several people in custody following reports of shots fired into a Surrey home

Police say the incident happened in the early hours of Saturday morning

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Strong turnout of volunteers to search for missing senior

Ted Vanderveen disappeared in rural Maple Ridge on Nov. 28

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

SkyTrain strike to begin Tuesday with ‘full shutdown’, CUPE says

BCRTC president says job action is ‘completely unacceptable’ to use SkyTrain users ‘as leverage’

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Most Read