British Columbia

Grizzly found with paws cut off along B.C. highway

The animal was found dead on the side of Highway 97.

WARNING: Story contains graphic images

All four of the grizzly's paws had been cut off when it was found on the side of Highway 97. The B.C. Conservation Service said the animal had been shot. (B.C. Conservation Service)

Conservation officers are investigating after a grizzly bear was found with its paws cut off near Prince George, B.C. on Thursday.

The mutilated animal was found dead on the side of Highway 97, north of Bear Lake. 

The B.C. Conservation Officer said the bear had been shot.

Investigators say it might have been the work of animal traffickers but that's only one possibility.

"[Bear paws] carry a fairly high price on international markets," said Eamon McArthur, a conservation officer in the Omineca Region.

McArthur said he can't yet comment on why all four of the animal's paws were missing, but it's not unheard of for valuable parts to be taken.

"It is quite an illegal process to be in possession of bear paws," he said. "There have been instances in the past where people have been caught with paws and have been prosecuted."

The service said it's looking for the public's help in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the province's report line for poachers and polluters.

"We're looking for any times and dates of anyone who might have actually seen anything driving north of Bear Lake within the past week," McArthur said. 

Anyone with information about the bear is asked to call the province's RAPP line. (B.C. Conservation Service)