A Squamish man will appear in Pemberton Provincial Court next month to face charges related to a grizzly bear shot and killed near Pemberton in November 2011.
In a Monday (Dec. 10) press release, Sgt. Peter Busink of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) said Crown Counsel approved two charges under the B.C. Wildlife Act for the man, who was served a summons on Dec. 6.
“The bear was an approximately 800-pound male grizzly who was roughly 20 years old and in good health and condition for a bear of this age,” Busink said in the release. “This bear represented an important genetic link between fractured populations of grizzly bears in the area.”
The bear was found shot along the Lillooet Forest Service Road on Nov. 17, 2011, with COS officials reporting that some parts of the animal had been removed.
Busink said the suspect was identified following a COS investigation. The suspect has been charged with killing wildlife outside open season, and for failing to report killing of game by accident or for protection.
Though both are ticketable offences, Busink said in an interview that conservation officials chose to pursue charges through the court due in part to the low population of grizzlies in the Pemberton area.
“If something like a grizzly bear (killed) that is an important DNA link in a recovery area for grizzly populations, we’re not going to give out a couple-hundred dollar fine,” said Busink. “The whole purpose is that it’s an important animal … and we’re going to let the judge decide.”
A conviction on the charge of killing the grizzly outside open season carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, while the maximum penalties for failing to report the shooting are a six-month jail term and $50,000 fine. The man is due to appear in court on Jan. 10.
Meanwhile, Busink said an investigation into the illegal hunting of a moose along the same road last month is still ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.