Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs ‘appalled’ at discovery of severed bear paws

The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs says it is “appalled and horrified” at the “gruesome” discovery of severed bear paws in the province’s Interior.

The Conservation Officer Service confirmed on Twitter that it was investigating the discovery of animal parts, including several bear paws, along a forest service road in Anglemont, about 450 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said in a statement Wednesday that 80 to 100 bear paws were found near Shuswap Lake on Sunday. 

It says such a disposal indicates the actions of trophy or commercial poachers who hold a complete lack of respect for wildlife, hunting laws and the rights of other resource users.

The statement says trophy hunting goes against Indigenous practices. 

Kukpi7 Cliff Arnouse, the chief of the Adams Lake Indian Band near Chase, B.C., says he has never seen or heard of bear parts being dumped in the wild — an action that is considered disrespectful to the species in Secwépemc culture.

“It [the bear] is throughout many of our [Secwépemc folklore] stories,” Arnouse said Thursday to Chris Walker, the host of CBC’s Daybreak South. “They [the bears] deserve our utmost respect and dignity … all these animals play their part and have an important purpose in the whole ecosystem.” 

The union says it is urging anyone with information that may help identify those who disposed of the paws to contact the Conservation Officer Service.

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