photo supplied Elizabeth Gray, Tri-City Photography ClubPatrick Penner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

BC Conservation officers freed a black bear from a leg-hold trap in Coquitlam, and now an environmental group is offering a $1,000 reward to help catch whoever set it.

Just before 1 p.m. on April 30, the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) received a report of a bear with its paw trapped in the pressure-activated snare set near the Pitt River Boat Club.

COS said its officers called in police to close the nearby trail before tranquilizing the bear to remove the trap and examine the animal for injuries.

The bear was determined to be in good health, and quickly relocated to a wilderness area outside the city, according to COS.

COS launched an investigation into the incident.

North Vancouver charity the Fur-Bearers has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification and conviction of the person responsible.

“Trapping has serious consequences, including the inarguable harm to non-target species and costs associated as seen last week,” says Lesley Fox, executive director of The Fur-Bearers. “This reward shows that we – and the people of British Columbia – take illegal trapping seriously and will not accept it in 2024.”

Although leg-hold traps are banned in many countries around the world, and several U.S. states, the immobilizing traps are still legal across Canada. Only leg-hold traps with metal teeth have been prohibited.

Municipalities, on the other hand, have an ability to ban their use within their jurisdiction, and Coquitlam did so with a bylaw back in 1979.

The bylaw cited animal cruelty when it banned all people, firms and corporations from setting these types of traps. Convictions result in a $500 fine.

Exemptions are only made for city employees or agents of the British Columbia Fish and Wildlife Branch in the course of their duties.

The Fur Bearers are warning anyone in the area to be on the lookout for traps, specifically warning dog walkers, families, bird watchers, and cyclists.

“This disturbing incident is a sign of the need for reforms to trapping and how traps are purchased in Canada,” the Fur Bearers’ website states.

The Fur Bearers advocate for an outright ban on leg-hold traps. They are joined by the American Veterinary Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the World Veterinary Association, the National Animal Control Association, and the Sierra Club. 

The traps typically target foxes, coyotes, raccoons, wolves, lynx, and bobcats, and are placed in areas where animals frequently pass.

The Fur Bearers say that once an animal is trapped, they often become so desperate they resort to chewing or wringing off the caught limb.

“Animals endure a painful and panic-filled period until they either die from exhaustion, blood loss, predation, dehydration, hypothermia, or are clubbed, choked, or stomped to death by the trapper (so as not to damage the pelt),” the Fur Bearers’ website states.

By Patrick Penner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 10, 2024 at 16:04

This item reprinted with permission from   Tri-Cities Dispatch   Coquitlam, British Columbia

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