Tuesday, 14 July 2015

A Hero who chose compassion over killing now needs heroes to save his job


TORONTO, July 14, 2015:  When two orphaned bear cubs needed a hero to save their lives, British Columbia conservation officer Bryce Casavant acted, even though his superiors had ordered him to kill the young bears.

For disobeying the order to kill, Officer Casavant is being punished by being suspended from his job. It is not clear if Officer Casavant will be reinstated after the matter is fully investigated.

We think this is wrong.

Liz White, Director of Animal Alliance of Canada, says: “We need to encourage conservation officers, like Officer Casavant, not punish them. Officer Casavant values the lives of these cubs, an admirable quality in a conservation officer.”

Officer Casavant did not act recklessly when he refused to kill the bear cubs after their mother was killed for breaking into a freezer where food was stored. The Officer had the two cubs assessed by a veterinarian and then transferred them to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association. This rehabilitation centre is experienced with the rehabilitation and release of bears into the wild, and they have stated they believe the cubs are good candidates for release next year.

Whether these two cubs will get that chance, and whether Officer Casavant will keep his job, still has to be decided. It is critical that B.C. government authorities make the right choices.

That is why we are asking Canadians to contact B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak, and B.C. Premier Christy Clark, to let them know that the two cubs, named Jordan and Athena, deserve their chance at a natural life and should not be killed.

The government should also provide the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association assistance to care for Jordan and Athena for the next 18 months until they can be released back into the wild. Too often donor-funded groups do the work that government agencies should do.

And, Officer Casavant must be reinstated without censure.

Animal Alliance of Canada hopes that this incident can mobilize public opinion and increase the political pressure on the B.C. government to enact policies that encourage responsible wildlife rehabilitation so that B.C. conservation officers are not in constant fear of losing their livelihoods when they do the right thing and help animals.
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Liz White, Director
416-462-9541 ext: 23 / liz@animalalliance.ca

Animal Alliance of Canada is committed to animal protection through politics, advocacy and education. Since 1990, Animal Alliance of Canada has been bringing together dedicated professionals with proven records in animal and environmental protection, together we work on local, national, and international educational and legislative advocacy initiatives to protect animals and our environment. Online at animalalliance.ca

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