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 It is, however, a direct result of the lack of funding, outdated policies and the willful ignorance of modern science at your ministry.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.
Manager of Wildlife Conflict
The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals