Support pours in for B.C. conservation officer Bryce Casavant, who refused to kill bear cubs

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      B.C. conservation officer Bryce Casavant has made headlines for his refusal to kill two black bear cubs near Port Hardy, after their mother was destroyed for breaking into a freezer.

      Casavant was suspended without pay, and an online petition seeking his reinstatement has been signed over 52,000 times.

      Actor, comedian, and filmmaker Ricky Gervais has tweeted his support for Casavant.

      Now the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals has written the following open letter to B.C. minister of environment Mary Polak about this matter:

      Minister of Environment Mary Polak
      PO BOX 9047 VICTORIA, BC V8W 9E2

      July 8, 2015

      Dear Minister Polak,

      It was with heavy hearts that we, and all other animal-loving British Columbians, read of the order to kill two innocent bear cubs by your ministry this week. The two cubs were deemed a non-threat and unhabituated by a conservation officer and expert rehabilitators on-the-ground, yet the policies in place suggested their deaths would somehow be a benefit.

      This is another incident in an alarming trend of lethal reactivity to wildlife conflict situations. It is not a direct result of the work of conservation officers, whom we have recently learned can be full of compassion and reason. It is, however, a direct result of the lack of funding, outdated policies and the willful ignorance of modern science at your ministry.

      Communities in British Columbia, and around the world, have learned to live with wildlife through scientifically-backed non-lethal solutions for all matters of species. But it is dependent upon governments recognizing that not only are these solutions better for homeowners, the environment and the individual animals, it is what the public wants.

      We implore you, Minister Polak, to listen to the people – not the lobbyists. Listen to the outpouring of support for the actions of a compassionate conservation officer. Listen to the scientists, communities and animal lovers who want to co-exist with wildlife.

      Listen to them, Minister Polak, because that’s your job.

      We are only one of the hundreds of non-profit organizations who do not have a financial stake in this discussion that support non-lethal solutions, an increase in funding to existing conservation efforts and updated policies in your ministry. We stand ready to assist the Ministry of Environment – as do our thousands of members –in whatever way possible to bring an end to this reign of lethal reactivity.


      Adrian Nelson
      Manager of Wildlife Conflict
      The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals



      Dave C.

      Jul 9, 2015 at 5:37pm

      Agree 100%. Ridiculous behavior by the Ministry of the Environment. The person responsible should be resigning.


      Jul 11, 2015 at 9:11am

      Give Bryce's job back, with additional responsibilities & commensurate pay, for taking the initiative to choose the morally correct path in this situation. Persons of his caliber are rare...they will be the leaders of their generation...& we need them.

      PS: read 'Ghost Grizzlies' by David Petersen

      gary schmidt

      Jul 11, 2015 at 3:17pm

      Minister Polak. Listen to the people, reinstate the CO and save the cubs for rehabitation. The CO means to conserve; that is what he did. Amen.

      Paulette Egeli

      Jul 13, 2015 at 9:46am

      There was a error made even before Mama bear came back for the second helping of food out of the freezer. Obviously the owners complained to someone. They should have been told and shown how to secure an outside freezer. Or not have an outside freezer full of meat in the first place. The humans were at fault, not the bears. And nursing cubs are highly unlikely to want to deal with humans now. But they could do adversion therapy - with a freezer with something frightening in it (low cost solution). The Conservation agent conserved. That was (and hopefully still is) his job.

      Margo Thompson

      Jul 21, 2015 at 2:19pm

      I'm looking 4 the petition 2 sign!