A family in British Columbia came upon a gruesome sight while hiking, and it's sparked an investigation that likely involves egregious poaching.
It was quite a shock for North Shuswap, British Columbia resident Brandi Hansen and her family when they encountered a dumpsite of animal parts near Anglemont that included dozens of severed bear paws.
"I was shocked, then disappointed and disheartened to think that an individual would be responsible for this," Hansen told the Global News. There were approximately 80 bear paws at the dumpsite.
Hansen and her three children were hiking when they came upon the disposed animal parts, and an investigation is now underway to determine who is responsible.
Not all the parts were identified immediately, but the ditch that was used as the disposal site is believed to be part of the neighborhood's water supply system.
The sale and possession of bear parts is illegal in British Columbia, but the international wildlife black market can be lucrative enough for some to disobey the law. Bear paws have been viewed as a delicacy in some corners of the world, and other bear parts are believed to hold medicinal properties.
The British Columbia Conservation Office sent out these Twitter messages regarding the incident:
The #BCCOS is requesting assistance from the public to help identify who may have disposed of these parts.
— BC CO Service (@_BCCOS) May 25, 2021
Hansen told the Global News that she and other residents of the area believe the act was committed by poachers who weren't from the area.
"From the locals, the common feeling is we think it's poachers. We don't know anyone in the area that would do that," she told the Global News.
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs also commented on the incident, saying in a statement that "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."
In addition, the local Shuswap Nation Tribal Council says it will hold a ceremony to honor the deceased bears.