Vancouver Resident Convicted of Shooting Black Bear

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A West Vancouver resident has been convicted and fined a total of $3,000 in connection with the illegal shooting of a black bear cub near Whistler Senior Secondary School earlier this year.

The black bear cub was killed on a school day in May at around 8:30 a.m. near Whistler Senior Secondary school. A witness saw a male get into a vehicle with what appeared to be a shotgun. The witness recorded the license plate number and reported the information to the police. The RCMP and the Conservation Officer Service (COS) worked collaboratively on the investigation and utilized both the Vancouver Police Department forensics lab and the Alberta Fish and Wildlife forensics lab.

Andrew Dylan Robertson, 24, pleaded guilty to the charge of hunting without consideration under the Wildlife Act on Oct. 17, 2008. He was fined $1,200 and ordered to pay $1,800 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. The shotgun and ammunition used in the incident were ordered forfeited to the Crown. Robertson was prohibited from hunting and owning/handling firearms and ammunition for three years. He must perform 30 hours of community service before Nov. 30, 2008 in and around the Sea-to-Sky corridor. Robertson was also ordered to write a letter of apology and to publish it in one of the two local papers at his own expense before Oct. 31, 2008.

The maximum penalty for a first offence conviction under the B.C. Wildlife Act is now $250,000, up from the previous $50,000 maximum, following amendments introduced by the government this spring. Penalties can also now include imprisonment for a term of two years, up from the previous six months.

Environment Minister Barry Penner says the British Columbia government pursues compliance with environmental laws and regulations through information, verification and enforcement. The goal is to encourage compliance to prevent damage before it occurs, and to apply the appropriate response if individuals or businesses do not comply with environmental standards.

Five additional conservation officers have been hired to enhance the capacity of the Conservation Officer Service (COS) to participate in collaborative compliance projects with external partners, and engage in additional compliance activities throughout the province. These officers will be placed in Fort St. John, Golden, Vernon, Nanaimo and Surrey.

Penner encourages the public to report human-wildlife conflicts that threaten public safety or result in significant property damage, or to report dangerous wildlife spotted in urban areas by calling 1 877 952-7277. Information provided to emergency operators is used to identify and respond to high-risk conflicts that threaten public safety. Already this year, more than 19,000 human-wildlife conflicts have been reported to operators.

The B.C. Wildlife Federation offers a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the conviction of persons breaking wildlife laws, vandalizing private property and breaking other property laws.

More information on compliance and enforcement activities is available in the Ministry of Environment's Quarterly Compliance and Enforcement summaries, available online at www.env.gov.bc.ca/main/prgs/compliancereport.html.