Mali the grizzly bear who was shot in Broughton Archipelago after being relocated from Hanson Island. (Photo/Grizzly Bear Foundation)

Mali, the grizzly shot after an epic relocation, to be buried today on First Nation’s land

Mamalilikulla chief, Richard Sumner said despite unanswered questions, they will not press for further investigation

Mali, a grizzly bear shot just days after an epic relocation from Hanson Island, will make a final journey today to burial grounds on First Nations territory in the Broughton Archipelago.

Mamalilukulla chief Richard Sumner confirmed that the bear’s burial will take place on Village Island after the B.C. Conservation Officer Service has returned the body.

Sumner was shocked to hear that the bear was shot to death on April 20, after it had been relocated on April 9. He says questions still remain about the circumstances of the bear’s death.

Mamalilikulla Guardian manager Jake Smith and Sumner had worked with conservation services, the provincial environment ministry, and non-profits agencies including the Grizzly Bear Foundation, to relocate the bear from Hanson Island.

Mali was shot by a citizen outside a remote cabin at an undisclosed location in the Broughton Archipelago, after the bear travelled 30 kilometres from the “isolated” area to which it had been relocated.

B.C. Conservation Officer Service concluded the investigation by declaring the shooting as an act of self-defence.

READ MORE: Grizzly bear just relocated from Vancouver Island shot dead

While Sumner and his nation members did not call for further investigation, the chief felt the information provided about the circumstances of Mali’s death was limited, and there were “unanswered questions.”

Sumner said that he would like to know who shot the bear and where. He also wondered how the person managed to get in the position where they felt their life was in danger.

According to Sumner, the bear apparently came back after it was scared off once. If so, the question is whether the person was waiting for the bear to return, he said.

Ben York, the conservation officer who handled the case, said there was no reason to believe the bear was shot for any reason other than self-defence. He added that there’s really no way to predict bears’ behaviour.

The bear was relocated to Hoeya Sound in Knight Inlet, famous for grizzly bear tours and sightings, after consultation with provincial biologists and First Nation members.

It was done “hastily,” said Sumner, following negotiations with conservation officers who would have otherwise “put down the bear” after it turned up on Hanson Island searching for food.

Sumner and Smith decided upon moving the bear to Hoeya Sound because it is traditional bear habitat.

The area recorded a severe salmon shortage last year and images of emaciated grizzlies made news. Smith and fellow Mamalilikulla members addressed this shortage last year by feeding more than 500 salmon to the bears in the vicinity.

But despite another seasonal food shortage in the area, Mali was moved to Hoeya Sound because Smith felt it would be safe there.

Food scarcity in bear habitats is also why bears are wandering further from their usual territory, said Smith, adding that these are red flags that need to be addressed by authorities.

“We can move these animals all around the place, but if there is no food source then all efforts will fail,” said Smith.

For Sumner too, it was a lesson learned. In future, relocation must be accompanied by after-care to see how the animal is adapting to its new environment, he maintained.

READ ALSO: After grizzly spotted in Sayward, mayor warns not to come searching for the bears

ConservationEnvironmentgrizzly

Just Posted

Decision on judicial review of Cowichan Motorsport decision could take months

VIMC said it was assured by North Cowichan that expansion would be allowed

Nanaimo resident wins human rights tribunal case over wheelchair accessibility at condo complex

Tribunal awards $35,000, says concerns weren’t addressed until human rights complaint had been lodged

Conservation officers free fawn stuck in fence in Nanaimo

Fawn was uninjured after getting caught in fence in Hammond Bay area Wednesday

Drone footage of View Royal highlights thick smoke in Greater Victoria

Wildfire smoke expected to blanket the region until at least Thursday

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

Another Sayward councillor resigns ahead of November byelection

Council will be able to maintain quorum until byelection is held, says Municipal Affairs

Remote B.C. tourism lodge staffed for coastal clean up instead of wilderness tours

The Great Bear Rainforest is home to exotic wildlife — and international trash

Construction starting on Campbell River supportive housing complex

The project is expected to be completed and ready to welcome residents early in the new year.

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Most Read