About three weeks ago, police raided an outdoor grow-op near the southern BC Interior town of Christina Lake, finding approximately 1,000 marijuana plants and more than a dozen friendly black bears. Police suspect the operators of the grow-op had been feeding the bears dog food in order to get them to stay present and guard the grow-op.
Public pressure is mounting for the government to save the black bears.
Originally conservation officers said the bears would likely have to be destroyed because they were so habituated to humans, however, an online petition calling for the bears to be protected has already collected more than 2500 signatures and there is now a second petition with over 1,500 signatures and aiming for 3,000.
In response, the government is looking at options to save the bears. B.C.'s Environment Minister Barry Penner says: "We are hoping the bears will move off and disperse on their own. If they don't, we're willing to try and encourage them to do that. Another option would be forced relocation with trapping and then taking them in a cage and then releasing them somewhere," he said. He admitted, however, that if the relocation is unsuccessful, it may be necessary for conservation officers to kill the bears.
Charges under the Wildlife Act are being considered against the woman who ran the grow-op, and who was feeding the bears. Acquaintances report she loved the bears like they were her children.
Click here to sign the petition