1 arrested for trafficking black bear parts in B.C.

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A black bear was seen wandering nonchalantly through downtown Port Alice on Thursday, Sept. 28, as residents scrambled to stay out of its way. In the Lower Mainland, B.C. Conservation Officer Service arrested a person in connection with a black bear parts trafficking investigation. (Debra Lynn photo)
One person has been arrested as part of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s investigation into the illegal trafficking of wildlife parts.
The arrest, which was in relation to the trafficking of black bear parts, was made in the Lower Mainland by the conservation service’s general investigation section, according to a post on social media Friday (Oct. 6). The post didn’t specify where in the Lower Mainland.
BCCOS recommended three counts to the B.C. Prosecution Service for trafficking in wildlife, which is an offence under the B.C. Wildlife Act. Black Press Media has reached out to B.C. Prosecution Service.
Penalties can range up to $500,000 in fines, a three-year jail term or both. The person has since been released.
Conservation officer Insp. Kyle Ackles said illegal trafficking poses a significant risk by endangering wildlife populations throughout the province.
“We know black markets for wildlife parts exist in BC and beyond, including overseas. Putting a stop to this unlawful trade is a priority for the COS,” said Ackles, who oversees the general investigations section.
Bear gall bladders and paws are sometimes sought for medicinal practices and can be sold for thousands of dollars.
Ackles added it’s challenging to specify how widespread the issue of trafficking is in B.C., but there have been court convictions for similar conservation officer service cases in the past.

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