Conservation officers continue investigating the case of bear carcasses dumped near the side of a logging road in Campbell River after a resident reported it on May 26. ( Photo by Joseph Young)

CO ‘comfortable’ saying that Campbell River bear carcasses were not cubs

Officer said that the investigation is still ongoing and hard to conclusively say anything right now

In a recent development, conservation officer Ben York said that he was “comfortable with saying” that the four bears found dumped near a Campbell River logging road were certainly smaller but “not cubs.”

Last week a resident reported to the Conservation Officer Services (COS), that remains of four bears, some of which were small in size and were possibly cubs, were found discarded near the side of the road.

READ MORE: Remains of four black bears, possibly cubs, found near Campbell River

The COS is still investigating the incident since it was first reported on May 26.

York, the officer in charge of the west coast region for the Conservation Officer Service (COS), said that the issue “is still under investigation” to find out what exactly happened to the four bears whose carcasses were found near Willis Road.

The officer said that it was very hard to tell the age of the bears based on the decomposed remains.

He also said that it is possible that one of them (or some of them) were shot on site. And York said that it is also “possible that these bears were legally hunted.”

He said that based on what they could tell on-site and also going by witnesses that they spoke to, he was comfortable in saying they were not cubs.

As per regulations, there’s no open season for a bear that is in the company of a sow, or one that is below two years.

York said that the only way to conclusively age a bear is by extracting a tooth that bears markings of its age, otherwise officers go by the size.

Asked if he was confident that the bears were older than two years, York said that “anything is possible.”

“We’re very comfortable with saying that they were not cubs, there’s no way to be 100 per cent certain of age. We’re going by the size of the remains that we were able to find and the statements of other people who saw the bodies before.”

“We’ve had people coming forward since then that have said ‘I have seen those cubs before the bodies decomposed and they were definitely not cubs,’ they were big enough to be legal. So that’s what’s making us think more and more that these weren’t illegally hunted animals.”

York further added, “That said, of course, it’s possible with the evidence we have right now, since it is decomposed remains that maybe they were younger, who knows, that’s why it’s still under investigation and that’s why we’re still asking the public to come forward with information.

He said that there still many unanswered questions “out there” and is asking anyone with “critical information” to come forward and speak to the COS.

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