The BC Conservation Officer Service are searching for a reckless individual who released a grizzly bear officers had caught in a live trap.
“The COs intended to relocate this grizzly bear to prevent further conflict that could lead to a public safety incidents,” says Chris Doyle, Deputy Chief of BC Conservation Officer Services. “Unfortunately, unknown individuals released the bear from the trap before COs could relocate it.”
The incident took place in the community of Good Hope Lake, approximately an hour north of Dease Lake. Local Conservation Officer Matthew Corbett says it’s not uncommon to see bears in Good Hope Lake but the grizzly was lingering in the area.
“This bear was reportedly seen in the town for three consecutive days in multiple areas of town. The fact that it was hanging around and not moving through town gave us a little concern.”
He says the plan was to trap and evaluate the bear, before possibly relocating it to a more remote area. Corbett says he received a notification that the trap had been triggered and, in the hour and half it took him to reach the location, the bear was gone. He says locals photographed the bear in the trap before it disappeared.
“A bear has never before escaped from one. It’s very difficult, even if there was another bear on the outside hitting the trap. It’s never happened where a bear’s gotten out without someone letting it out.”
Corbett says he’s investigating the incident and hoping that person or people responsible will come forward on their own.
“Not only is this kind of action illegal but it’s also very dangerous,” says Deputy Chief Doyle. “This may mean that the bear is going to be more difficult to catch. We may not be able to catch it again so its conflict level may increase further. COs continue to search for the people responsible.”
Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call the BC Conservation Service.
Doyle says the vast majority of conflicts between people and wildlife are easily preventable.
“The Skeena region recently has reported a high number of bear conflicts. Unfortunately, most of these conflicts were preventable and caused by insecure storage of garage. It’s a good time to remind people that it’s illegal to feed dangerous wildlife or to improperly store attractants.”
The region appears to be an anomaly at the moment as Doyle says the number of human-wildlife conflicts in the province were extremely low last month.