BC must do better for black bear cubs

Black bear cub. Photo credit: Jillian Cooper / Getty Images

The Fur-Bearers is calling on the Ministry of Forests to review and amend its guidelines in response to young black bears and bear cubs being killed by conservation officers in British Columbia.

In April 2022, The Fur-Bearers submitted a complaint to the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service (COS) over the agency’s killings of young black bears (click here to read our blog post with the summary).

Included in the complaint was a report of a ten-pound black bear cub that was killed by a conservation officer after an assessment was made that he “looked skinny”. We are highlighting this case to demonstrate that the guidelines developed in collaboration between the Ministry of Forests and the COS need to be revised to account for incidents like these. Lethal force is often used against young bears as the first option when it should be the last. Rehabilitators and animal health experts need to be incorporated more in the decision-making process.

We are recommending that the government’s human-wildlife conflict guidelines incorporate weight as a factor in decision-making and that ‘skinniness’ does not result in automatic decisions to kill young bears. More thorough assessments need to be done before any action is taken in the field.

Read or download the PDF below to learn more about the background of the case and our recommendations.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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