For immediate release
PACIFIC WILD Position Statement Regarding Anmore Bear Cub January 10th 2020
Location: Anmore, BC (lower mainland).
Background: On January 9th 2020, an emaciated black bear was transported to an authorized rehabilitation facility in BC (Critter Care Wildlife Society). The young bear was located on the private property of an Anmore resident and appeared in distress. Upon being accepted for rehabilitation, it was confirmed by qualified professionals that the young bear was severely underweight and was unlikely to have survived on its own.
Issue: Media reports, government statements, and witness interviews suggest that the individuals assisting the distressed young bear have committed offences under the BC Wildlife Act. These individuals are now reportedly being investigated by the BC Conservation Officer Service and have stated they were threatened with fines and jail time for their actions. In media statements to the Anmore Times and other outlets, government spokespersons have stated that the actions of the individuals were illegal and that investigations would occur.
Position of Pacific Wild: It is highly inappropriate for government officials to be alleging criminal conduct prior to any investigation actually being done and charges approved. Pacific Wild reminds the government that authorized and permitted rehabilitation facilities, their staff, and their volunteers are exempt from the offence provisions of the Wildlife Act. To our knowledge, the young bear in question was transported by a qualified and experienced organization that has a long-standing volunteer relationship with Critter Care Wildlife Society, an authorized facility. This is not a criminal matter. Rather, it appears as an image maintenance problem for the government because officers failed to assist the bear and the public when first notified.
Public safety reminder: For your own safety and the safety of others, generally, it is not recommended to handle young wildlife. We thank the parties for their actions in good faith and the positive outcome in this case. We remind both the public and the government that there is always a place for compassion and empathy. Sometimes this requires exceptions to the general rule and an application of common sense.
At the time of this statement, Australian bush fires have killed an estimated one billion wild animals, with the future of the iconic Koala Bear now in question. In BC, our government has killed over 4,000 bears in the last eight years, as well as over 150 grizzly bears, and 780 cougars. In a time of climate change, natural disasters, and environmental issues facing our country and the world, often our laws fall behind. Strict compliance with outdated or mis-interpreted statutes is never a reason to abandon common sense and compassion.
Senior Conservation Policy Analyst
Pacific Wild Alliance, CANADA
Per: Ian McAllister
Pacific Wild Alliance, CANADA