The Canadian Environmental Protection Commissioner who lost his job for refusing to kill two bear cubs has won a victory in court.
As reported by Tricity News, Bryce Casavant was fired in 2015 after responding to a call from residents at a trailer park near Port Hardy in British Columbia, Canada.
Namely, they initially reported that a female black bear was in their area, raiding freezers full of meat and fish. Casavant then shot the female bear because it is in the law of the province (a bear must be killed as soon as it tampers with people’s food), but refused to kill her cubs as well after residents reported to him that they had not touched the food.
According to court documents, Casavant instead took the bears to a vet, who “examined them and had them taken to the North Island Recovery Centre”. They were later released back into the wild.
Despite this charity towards the bears, Casavant was reported by his supervisor. Only a day later, he faced official charges.
Casavant was then also suspended in the course of the investigation before he was finally fired.
Unhappy about this decision, the former commissioner fought it in court. And this week, a court finally found in his favour.
Casavant told The Guardian: “I feel like the black clouds that have hung over me and my family for years are finally lifting. But this moment is equally bittersweet – because really my resignation should never have been given.”
“I will continue to fight to clear my name,” he continues. “I have always stood in public service with honour and integrity. I was brought up that way and that’s how I brought up my daughter. I really felt like I had become a target.”
Since his resignation, Casavant has been critical of the practices of the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service. He – and many others – believe bears are too easily killed.
In January, the environmental organisation Pacific Wild found that at least 4,500 bears had been killed in the province over the past eight years.
Even then, Casavant spoke up and said, “[British Columbia] is not a shooting range for government employees.
It sounds implausible to say that over 4,000 bears, and their cubs, had to be killed ‘as a last resort’.”
It makes you downright sad to think about the fact that bears and their cubs are allowed to be shot just like that.
One can only thank Bryce Casavant for standing up for the rights of bears, even though it cost him his job.