Yes, you read that correctly.
After a mama bear was killed for repeatedly raiding a freezer full of meat and salmon, B.C. conservation officer Bryce Casavant refused to kill her two black bear cubs, despite orders to do just that.
And in doing so, he was met with a suspension from his job – and one that comes with zero pay.
The B.C. conservation service had been called by a homeowner to help with the situation after the persistent bear had repeatedly raided the freezer inside of a mobile home near Port Hardy, B.C.
The young cubs – a brother and a sister – naturally went searching for their mother on the property and climbed a tree next to the mobile home. They were then removed by a team of firefighters and Casavant.
Instead of killing the cubs as ordered, Casavant tranquilized them and took them to a veterinary hospital. Unlike their mother, who had become habituated and posed a risk to humans, Casavant argued that there was no proof that the two bears were also habituated.
They’re now in good health at a recovery centre run by the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, on Vancouver Island.
It isn’t taking long for Casavant’s story to begin to circle – especially after it was reported in a local paper. Now, there’s an online petition that asks Environment Minister Mary Polak to reinstate the officer.
Oh, and it’s also caught the attention of Ricky Gervais, who tweeted a message regarding the situation, urging to “reinstate this honourable man.”
Bryce Casavant, conservation officer, suspended for refusing to kill bear cubs http://t.co/E6AKvu6Kyd Reinstate this honourable man.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 8, 2015
The bad news it that Casavant is still suspended; the good – as of a few hours ago – he will receive his pay.
“This is a very sad and unfortunate situation,” said Polak in a statement. “Although conservation officers must sometimes put down wild animals for the safety of the public and the welfare of the animal, we understand how difficult it is for all involved.”
“The Conservation Officer Service is investigating this situation, including the actions of its members. We will share more information about the status and welfare of the cubs as it becomes available.”