Charges laid in Christina Lake pot bears case

The government sent out a press release late this afternoon announcing charges have been laid against a man for feeding the bears RCMP discovered outside a grow-op in Christina Lake on July 30.

The case got so much profile, I guess the government wanted to make sure people knew that they are taking action! They also, I think, wanted to reassure people that the bears haven’t been euthanized.

What the press release didn’t say is that it’s possibly only a temporary stay of execution. The Ministry of the Environment had the bears continue to be fed until they went into hibernation, with the hope that when they came out, they will go off into the woods and fend for themselves. If they don’t, and continue to turn to humans for their food, they will have be put down. Wonder if we’ll get a press release if that comes to pass.

Anyway, today’s installment provides a little levity from the political drama that is dominating B.C. news these days.

Here’s today’s Canadian Press story about the charges
Here’s the story I wrote in August about the docile bears the cops discovered prowling a grow-op they were busting.

Below is the press release the government sent out this afternoon:

INFORMATION BULLETIN
2010ENV0072-001467
Nov. 23, 2010
Ministry of Environment

CHRISTINA LAKE MAN CHARGED WITH FEEDING BEARS

GRAND FORKS – A resident of Christina Lake has been charged with one count of feeding dangerous wildlife under the Wildlife Act [Sec.33.1(1)]. Allan Wayne Piche is scheduled to appear in Grand Forks provincial court on Dec. 14, 2010.

A police investigation of an alleged marijuana grow operation in mid-August 2010 uncovered a number of severely habituated and food-conditioned black bears on a rural property near Christina Lake.

The property owner had allegedly been feeding the bears large amounts of dog food, in quantities that were large enough to sustain them. As a result, the bears had become dependent upon humans for food and were docile because of their familiarity with humans as food providers. It is believed as many as 26 bears were frequenting the property in search of food.

Conservation officers and Ministry of Environment staff did an assessment of the property and the bears, and determined that the most effective solution to the problem was to recommend a reduced feeding schedule. This would allow the bears the best opportunity to return to the wild while also protecting the safety of local residents.

Inspections conducted by the Conservation Officer Service indicate that most of the bears at the location have gone into hibernation. As a result of the Ministry of Environment’s strategy, none of these bears had to be euthanized.

Under the Province’s Wildlife Act, penalties for feeding dangerous wildlife can be as high as $100,000 for a first offence, or a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both. Subsequent convictions for the same offence can result in a fine of not more than $200,000 and not less than $2,000, or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both.

Feeding dangerous wildlife threatens public safety and results in the needless destruction of wildlife.

The public is encouraged to report violations of the Wildlife Act by calling the Conservation Officer Service 24-hour hotline at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277) or by visiting the website at http://www.rapp.bc.ca. All tips are kept confidential.

Enforcement actions related to the alleged marijuana grow operation are the responsibility of the RCMP.

-30-

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One thought on “Charges laid in Christina Lake pot bears case

  1. We at HELP SAVE THE BC BLACK BEARS facebook site commend the Ministry on listening to us and taking our suggestions of a reduced feeding program to fruition. This was an unprecedented move by the Ministry that, thanks to some of our almost 5000 members donating time and food, was an unmitigated success. It is our expressed hope the Ministry will continue to have open communications with us regarding our recommended plans of temporary feeding stations in the Spring to ensure the continued survival and successful reintegration of these bears. We also hope the owner continues abiding by the Ministry’s orders, re-erecgts his electric fence and ceases the exploitation of these bears by allowing visitors on his property to pose for photos with the bears.

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