(WILDLIFE) BRITISH COLUMBIA — A global campaign is gaining force to save the 12 black bears who were found lazily guarding a B.C. marijuana ‘grow-op,’ and were at risk of being euthanized by authorities. Actor Jason Priestly and others are getting involved to help feed and care for the bears. — Global Animal
Zoe McKnight, Postmedia News
Doreen McCrindle, a Calgary woman who said she is just an animal lover, is behind an online push to stop the B.C. government from euthanizing the bears.
“The ideal situation is, given they are so docile . . . re-assimilation into the wild,” McCrindle said in an interview. “I’m basically looking for open communication between ourselves, members of the Facebook page, and the Ministry (of Environment) to at least be open to suggestions of weaning them off the foods and providing temporary feeding stations which would be moved farther and farther into the wild.”
McCrindle said she has been consulting with bear experts and has received hundreds offers of donations to pay for the feeding stations or other solutions, including one from Canadian actor Jason Priestley for $1,300.
RCMP confiscated an estimated $1 million worth of marijuana plants from a property in the remote hillside near Christina Lake, B.C., in the province’s Kootenay region earlier this month. But before they could make the arrests, they had to deal with at least a dozen black bears that were hanging around the property, police said.
The bears seemed lazy and posed no threat to officers, and were apparently well-fed by the woman who owned the property.
The woman who was arrested on the property, known locally as “Bear Lady,” had been feeding the bears for quite some time, possibly years, meaning their ability to return to foraging for food in the wild may be diminished.
Conservation officers monitoring the situation said that if the bears became aggressive in their search for food, or pose a threat to the community, they will have to be killed.
McCrindle said she is not yet accepting donations. She had not been contacted by any government officials. Facebook groups supporting the bears are growing in leaps and bounds.
A petition has also grown quickly, garnering upwards of 1,900 signatures in just two days. Signatures have come from as far away as Russia, China, New Zealand, Africa, Brazil and all over North America.