Officer Suspended For Refusing To Kill Orphaned Bear Cubs
A conservation officer in Canada has been put on suspension - not for violating his duty to protect wildlife, but rather for heroically saving the lives of two helpless animals his higher-ups wanted killed.
Following reports of a female black bear who had broken into a home in rural British Columbia in the company of her two young cubs, Officer Bryce Casavant and local firefighters were dispatched to the scene. Unfortunately, the responders decided to put the mother bear down, though when it came to dealing with her now-orphaned offspring, the conservation officer took a more sympathetic approach.
Defying orders to euthanize the 8-week-old bear cubs, Casavant instead collected the frightened youngsters and had them sent to local animal hospital, the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. That simple show of kindness has now put his job in jeopardy, reports Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Meanwhile, conservation services released a statement saying that Casavant's actions are now under investigation, but supporters say the officer should be lauded, not suspended. A petition on Care.org has garnered more than 150,000 signatures calling for Casavant to be reinstated.
Given the bears' age, staff at North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre are optimistic the cubs will eventually be released back into the wild - all thanks to the sympathy shown by Casavant, who defends his actions on their behalf, telling the Vancouver Mirror:
"I think it is important for the community to know that I am here to do the right thing."
UPDATE: Officer Casavant was originally suspended without pay, but in light of the overwhelming public response to his case, he has since been placed back on they payroll, CVT News reports. He is currently still under suspension.