Conservation officers in Haida Gwaii are searching for the people responsible for killing and decapitating a black bear, then dumping it on a beach.

The headless carcass was discovered this week at the high tide line, just east of Sandspit, according to Sgt. Kyle Ackles of the Conservation Officer Service.

"The head was removed, but the rest of the bear was intact," Ackles said. "My understanding is that it'd been there for a couple days."

Photos of the decapitated bear have been posted on Facebook, prompting outrage from many commenters.

Decapitated bear

The bear was killed with a rifle shot. (Arlene Erlandson)

The bear was a large adult male, killed by a shot from a rifle. Ackles said he couldn't be sure of the motive for the removal of the bear's head, but he speculated that someone might have wanted to preserve the skull.

Ackles moved the carcass away from the community, so that it wouldn't attract more hungry bears.

It's not the first time in recent weeks that something like this has happened.

"About a month ago, I had another incident where a bear carcass was found on the beach. Nothing from that animal was harvested," Ackles said.

In that case, the bear was washed away by the tide before it could be examined.

Ackles is asking anyone with information about either poaching incident to call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277, pointing out that the service's resources are spread thin on Haida Gwaii.

"I do really depend on the public to report suspicious activity," he said.

With files from George Baker