British Columbia

B.C. man charged after months-old bear cub found caged on property

A man from northeastern, B.C., is facing a number of charges after RCMP found a caged black bear cub during a separate criminal investigation last week.

Justin Thibault, 25, facing charge under B.C. Wildlife Act

A black bear cub was found on a property in Hudson's Hope, B.C., during an RCMP investigation on June 9. (RCMP)

A man from northeastern, B.C., is facing a number of charges after RCMP officers found a caged black bear cub during a criminal investigation last week.

Officers initially went to a house on Ferrell Creek in Hudson's Hope, B.C., on June 9 to arrest a man for dangerous driving and theft, according to a statement.

While on the property, officers saw the six- to eight-month-old cub inside a green cage.

RCMP later went back to fully search the property and remove the bear. Officers also seized "a number of illegally stored/stolen firearms, tools, seven stolen vehicles including pick up trucks, ATVs, motorcycles and medical gear."

The bear cub was taken to a wildlife sanctuary with help from the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

RCMP Const. Erich Schmidt said hunters have been known to bring a bear cub home out of pity after accidentally shooting the animal's mother, but in those cases, conservation officers are quickly called to collect the bear.

"It's the first time we've ever seen [a bear kept]," Schmidt said Monday. "It had been there for some time." 

Justin Thibault, 25, was charged with unlawful possession of live wildlife under the B.C. Wildlife Act. He is also facing charges of dangerous operation of a vehicle, break and enter as well as possession of stolen property in relation to the initial theft investigation. 

He remains in custody pending a bail hearing.

Schmidt said it is not clear how or why the bear ended up in the cage.

A 29-year-old woman was also arrested in connection with the investigation, the statement said. She has been released with a future court date.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a theft is asked to file a report with RCMP by calling 250-783-5241, if they have not already done so.

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