British Columbia

Bear pulls corpse from car near Kamloops

RCMP in Kamloops, B.C., have recovered the corpse of a man that was pulled from a car by a bear and stashed nearby in the woods.

Body found by hunters off remote logging road.

RCMP in Kamloops, B.C., have recovered the corpse of a man that was pulled from a car by a bear and stashed nearby in the woods.

The dismembered and partially eaten body was discovered around 6 p.m. PT Wednesday by some hunters, who first stumbled across the man's abandoned Volkswagen Jetta about 30 metres off the Long Lake forestry road between Kamloops and Merritt.

The driver's window of the vehicle was down and there were numerous muddy paw prints, scratches, dents and other damage on the car. They also spotted drugs, needles, a bottle of liquor and a duffle bag full of personal items inside.

The hunters then searched the area and found the man's body buried about 120 metres from the vehicle.

When police arrived to investigate, a black bear that was spotted earlier in the area by the hunters returned to the scene. By the time the investigators returned a second time to recover the body it had been moved by the bear once again, and buried under brush, leaves and grass.

The body was finally recovered and taken by police for positive identification. No name has been released by police, but they say the car was registered to a 54-year-old Kamloops man.

Bear did not kill man

"The circumstances surrounding the man’s death are unusual but investigators have not found any evidence of foul play in connection with the death. The exact cause of death has not been confirmed," Kamloops City RCMP said in a release.

Regional coroner Mark Coleman said it appears the man died while sitting in his car on the remote road and the bear likely found the body and pulled it out of the car, eating part of it before covering the rest with brush, leaves and grass.

"Bears will sometimes do that if they have a feeding source that is greater than one meal. They try to protect it in a way that keeps it unavailable to other predators," said Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned.

Referencing media reports from early Thursday, Learned said the man's body had not been buried by the bear.

"There's no indicator that it would dig a hole and then refill the hole, like a dog would bury a bone."

Environment Minister Terry Lake said even though the bruin did not attack and kill the victim, to ensure the protection of the public, it will be destroyed if it's found.

"Conservation officers, the last thing they want to do is to euthanize any animal, and we've seen many, many attempts to try to tranquilize bears and take them away from the area, and 99 per cent of the time those bears will come back and end up being destroyed anyway," said Lake.

Police are still conducting tests to determine what kind of drugs were found at the scene.

With files from the CBC's Jackie Sharkey