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Bears Matter Helps Anmore Couple Who May Face Legal Issues for Rescued Bear Cub

Letter by Bears Matter Consulting to Minister’s Heyman and Donaldson

Link to GlobalBC TV news report Jan 10, 2020

Date: January 11, 2020 at 7:52:27 PM CST
To: ENV Minister <[email protected]>, [email protected]
Cc: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], “Adam Olsen.MLA” <[email protected]>, “Sonia Furstenau.MLA” <[email protected]>, [email protected], Kenn McLaren <[email protected]>,

Subject: Pls Train COS in Manners, Animal Sentience & End All Spurious Investigations

Dear Minister Heyman and Minister Donaldson,

Re: Anmore Cub Rescued and Taken to Critter Care for Rehabilitation – Jan 10’20

I write this letter to you both as you share the responsibility for the Conservation Officer Service of B.C. and their conduct.

There is no excuse for your officer’s lack of manners, professionalism and mistreatment of law-abiding citizens in the recent and on-going case involving the successful rescue of a needy, starving 20lb bear cub in Anmore, B.C.

As a bear conservationist and advocate since 2000 I have often experienced the COS’s hunter-centric culture and their ‘let nature takes it course’ mantra many times. At the highest levels of the COS management they unabashedly communicate to myself and other animal advocates that they have no use for wildlife rehabilitation and think it is a waste of time and ‘private citizen’s’ money.

It is now 2020 and there has to be a philosophical shift within the COS, sooner rather than later. They are totally out-of-step with the citizens and tax-payers of this province. Wildlife rehabilitation is here to stay, especially given the biodiversity and climate crisis we face. The members of the COS need to start acting like mature, well-mannered, informed adults while doing their jobs and accept that times have changed.

To avoid more unpleasant public performances by conservation officers due to their irrational and unnecessary strong-man tactics I respectfully recommend that ‘best practises’ or better yet ‘best manners’ be instituted ASAP across the COS, including all management, clerical staff and officers.

One excellent suggestion I have heard of late is that the wearing of body cameras may inspire the officers to behave more correctly; more befitting of their employment duties and status as enforcement and peace-keeping officers.

To better align your officers with today’s societal values I also recommend the management and officers take training in cutting-edge science of animal sentience. This training will better equip them to understand more fully the animals that they work with and recognize signs of trauma and distress and act accordingly.

In closing, I appeal to your sense of fairness and common sense to do what is necessary to have any spurious investigations dropped against law-abiding citizens who were doing the right thing within the current ‘vacuum’ of professional, well-trained, compassionate government wildlife officials.

It is my hope that one day citizens of B.C. will not hesitate to call wildlife officials when lives are endangered and then, working together, find solutions to spare lives. At present we are moving in the opposite direction!

Sincerely yours,

Barb Murray,

Bears Matter Consulting, Vancouver Island, B.C.

“Bears matter because bears are sentient beings too”

Critter carePhoto of rehabbed cub in November’19 ready to hibernate taken from  ( Anmore rescued cub is being rehabilitated by Critter Care in Langley)

GlobalBCTV Report and Link

An Anmore, B.C., couple is facing potential legal ramifications after taking matters into their own hands to rescue an orphaned black bear cub.

Corrine and Michael Robson discovered the cub shivering under a table on their deck Wednesday night.

The couple called the Critter Care Wildlife Society to make sure it could accommodate the animal, then called the Conservation Officer Service (COS) to ask them to transport it.

READ MORE: Number of black bears destroyed by B.C. conservation officers up 40% from 2018, province says

“I tried to explain to him that Critter Care had a spot, they will take the bear,” Corinne said.

“The conservation officer has to be the one that takes the bear there and he refused to do it.”

The couple says the COS told them an officer could attend the next morning, but would only move the bear into the nearby woods where it could fend for itself.

They were also warned that moving the bear themselves could come with legal action and even arrest.

“They refused to come out, which was really, really disappointing,” said Michael.

The next morning, the cub was still there. But instead of calling the COS again, the couple called animal rights group the Fur-Bearers, who helped them take it to Critter Care.

“He’s thin, he should be like 70, 80 pounds. He’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite emaciated,” said Critter Care executive director Gail Martin. “It would have died. It’s too small, it’s too thin.”

But while Martin is happy the cub is now likely to pull through, she said members of the public shouldn’t try and rescue wildlife on their own.

“They should not be picking up bear cubs until they know the circumstances — or not ever, really, because you don’t know the circumstances regarding that animal,” she said.

In the case of the Robsons, their decision may have consequences.

“Now I’m under investigation for interfering with wildlife, and there’s a possibility they’re going to charge me and put me in jail,” said Michael.

The COS says it is investigating the incident from both sides, but also echoed Martin in warning the public not to take wildlife rescues into their own hands.

The agency’s handling of the situation has drawn criticism from the Fur-Bearers, which said it should have been an easy decision to send an officer to transport the bear.

“It is alarming to me that seeking help for a clearly underweight bear cub, so much resistance was met,” said spokesperson Michael Howie.

“There is a very real fear and distrust with the public regarding calling the Conservation Officer Service for help, and this kind of case just reinforces that and highlights the problems with communication at the very least.”

-With files from Linda Aylesworth

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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