Wildlife group challenges B.C.’s interpretation of law on destroying bears

Fur-Bearers are challenging a conservation officer’s decision to kill a bear cub near Dawson Creek

A black bear cub is pictured in the Dawson Creek area on May 6, 2016, before it was destroyed by a conservation officer. (Tiana Jackson/The Fur-Bearers)

A wildlife advocacy group is accusing the B.C. government of not following its own law on the destruction of bears by conservation officers.

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, also known as the Fur-Bearers, has filed a court petition challenging an officer’s decision to kill a black bear cub near Dawson Creek in May 2016.

READ MORE: Bear conflicts on the rise throughout B.C.

The group says a concerned resident, Tiana Jackson, found the apparently orphaned bear by the roadside and called the conservation officer service before taking the cub to an outdoor dog pen on her property.

It says an officer, Micah Kneller, told her on the phone that he would come and kill the animal, even though she told him she’d found a wildlife rehabilitation centre that was willing to take the cub.

Jackson is a co-petitioner with the Fur-Bearers and their lawyer, Arden Beddoes, has argued in B.C. Supreme Court that the Wildlife Act prohibits officers from killing animals unless they pose a threat.

However, the province argues in court documents that the law gives officers wide discretion to destroy animals and Kneller made the decision because the cub was not a suitable candidate for captive rearing and release.

The Canadian Press

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