B.C. First Nations are condemning those responsible for the dozens of bear paws that were dumped alongside a North Shuswap road.
On Wednesday, May 26, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), which advocates on behalf of Aboriginal Peoples in the province, issued a media release stating its members were appalled and horrified by the “gruesome discovery of 80-100 severed bear paws – 20-25 bears in total – near Shuswap Lake.”
The paws were found by Anglemont resident Brandi Hansen, who said the bear and cub paws were mostly in a culvert on the side of a road. Hansen reported the finding to the Conservation Officer Service, which is investigating. An avid hunter and outdoors enthusiast, Hansen guessed poachers may have been responsible. The UBCIC agreed.
“The carnage left behind indicates the actions of trophy or commercial poachers, who hold a complete lack of respect for wildlife, hunting laws and the rights of other resource users,” reads the release, adding the UBCIC has previously expressed alarm at “wolf-whacking” and “predator tournaments” occurring in the province.
“The dozens of discarded bear paws demonstrate that this callous attitude towards the killing of animals persists.”
The Shuswap Nation Tribal Council (SNTC) also spoke out against what it called an “act of desecration… felt through the spirits of our people.” A May 26 media release by the SNTC explained the bear is a sacred animal that forms the “foundation of our creation law, the chief of the four-legged, and deserved of the utmost respect and dignity.”
“As caretakers of the land, we condemn the dishonour of our sacred animal integral to our health and well-being,” reads the SNTC release.
The Shuswap Nation Tribal Council will be holding a ceremony to honour the bears whose remains were discarded to “ensure they are given the respect they deserve.”
The UBCIC is asking that those who hunt do so sustainably and ethically, and it urges anyone with information about the discarded bear paws to contact the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.
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