(Twitter/BC Conservation Officer Service)

(Twitter/BC Conservation Officer Service)

Conservation officer kills black bear previously shot with rifle in Kootenay town

Officers are searching for whoever shot a mother bear within district limits

Conservation officers said they were forced to shoot a mother bear and her two cubs in Sparwood on Thursday, after the mother bear was discovered to have been shot with a small-calibre rifle and was seriously wounded.

The black bear and her two cubs had become habituated to garbage in the area, and according to local Conservation Officer Ryan Gordon, someone had shot the mother bear within district limits, but failed to kill her.

Gordon said that the apparent attempt to take the matter into their own hands was a massive – and very illegal – overstep that put the community at risk.

“We went from a predictable bear eating garbage at night, to an injured bear that might not be able to feed on what she was feeding on before.

“The issue is an injured bear like that becomes more desperate. They become unpredictable, and their ability to gather food is impacted. She could have posed a greater risk to the public because she was shot.”

Because the cubs that were with her were habituated to human garbage, Gordon said they had been forced to kill all three at the same time.

“If there’s issues with bears getting into garbage, people need to call the RAPP line (1-877-952-7277) and not take matters into their own hands. It is illegal to discharge a firearm in city limits, and they had put the public more at risk.”

Conservation officers were aware of the bears, which had been doing rounds feeding on garbage left outside in neighbourhoods around Sparwood. The bears were reported to be healthy as recently as Monday October 25.

Gordon said they believed she had been shot sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday in the Sparwood Heights neighbourhood, and were asking for anyone that saw or heard anything to call the RAPP line (1-877-952-7277) with any information that could help their investigation.

READ MORE: Mother grizzly, 3 cubs killed by train near Elko

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