The mutilated carcass of a black bear, with its skull missing, its claws removed and its stomach slashed open, has been found in North Vancouver.
North Shore resident Mike Kaffka discovered the carcass of the young male bear while on his daily walk in the Capilano River Regional Park on Monday.
Kaffka said he had stopped to talk with friends near Camp Capilano, a cabin providing children's camp lodging, when his dog V-12 Merlin started barking.
"You could see a couple of paws. I didn't look that closely at them. [There was] the skin of course. And most of his guts hanging out," said Kaffka.
Kaffka said he was used to seeing bears living in the regional parks of North Vancouver but the discovery of the carcass was a shock.
"To find one dead is a surprise... I would imagine someone just backed a pick up truck here and dropped it over."
Sgt. Todd Hunter with the Conservation Officers Service says the authorities do not yet know what killed the bear, but that it was a human who removed its skull and claws.
"We do not know how the carcass got to the location, or how the animal died," said Hunter. "It is a suspicious occurrence and we have initiated an investigation."
Christine Miller of the North Shore Black Bear Society was shocked to hear about the discovery.
"People who live on the North Shore are here because they love nature. And there is a huge respect for wildlife," said Miller.
"A lot of people do many things so they don't attract bears onto their property. So this kind of grisly discovery is very disturbing."
Hunter said the carcass could be the result of the legal black bear hunt, which runs from April 1 to June 15 in B.C., although hunting is not allowed on the North Shore.
"We could have an issue here that a legally harvested black bear was taken to this location and dumped here," he said.
By law, hunters who kill black bears are required to take the edible portions of the carcass to their home, although Hunter said other bear parts such as the paws are traded on the black market.
Miller acknowledges that bear parts can be valuable.
"Different parts have different values to different cultures. But it's unacceptable to do such a thing here."
Hunter added that charges may be forthcoming if their investigation showed the animal had been illegally dumped or illegally killed.
He urged anyone who is legally hunting to adopt a responsible approach to discarding animal carcasses.
Anyone with information is asked to call the conservation officer poaching hotline on 1-877-952-7277 or use the online form on the B.C. Ministry of Environment's website.
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