B.C. farmer fined in connection to four grizzly bear deaths


A B.C. farmer has been fined in connection to four grizzlies that were shot in a valley between Prince George, British Columbia, and Jasper, Alberta.

The case against Arlan Harry Baer began in 2014 after a public complaint to the B.C. Conservation Service. Following a two-year investigation, Baer was faced with six charges under the B.C. Wildlife Act, including killing wildlife out-of-season, unlawful possession of dead wildlife, failure to report killing wildlife, failure to state location of wildlife killed, and resisting or obstructing an officer from exercising their duty.

Baer, who raises Holstein dairy cows on his family farm near Dunster, B.C., recently pleaded guilty in provincial court to one charge of failing to report the killing or wounding of wildlife. The other five charges were stayed. 

He was ordered to pay a $500 fine and another $1,500 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, which the court may earmark for grizzly conservation projects.

When Baer was charged in 2016, a conservation officer told reporters that the loss was so significant that it would likely affect the grizzly population and limit the region’s grizzly hunt.

Not only are grizzlies a threatened species in B.C., but the animals are also very slow to reproduce, especially in the province’s interior, where they are farther away from salmon streams.

Few details regarding what happened to the sow and her cubs have been released, but wildlife consultant Lana Ciarniello told CBC News that conflicts with grizzly bears are “unfortunately common” in agricultural areas.

To mitigate the likelihood of issues like these, bear advocates recommend moving calves closer to farm houses, keeping cattle away from the edge of forests, and storing any grain or food in bear-safe containers.