B.C. conservation officer Bryce Casavant is suspended from his job after refusing to kill two 8-week-old bear cubs, according to the North Island Gazette.
The cubs’ mother was killed after she broke into a meat freezer on at least two occasions in a mobile home park in Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.
Casavant was ordered to destroy the brother and sister cubs, who were found in a tree calling out for their mother, but took them to a veterinary hospital instead. They are now at North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington.
“I think it is important for the community to know that I am here to do the right thing,” he said.
Now an online petition is circulating to reinstate Casavant to his former position, and the story appears to be gaining momentum in other parts of the world, even being tweeted out by comedian and animal activist Ricky Gervais:
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 petition has 29,145 signatures at the time of publication.
While the province does not know yet what they will do with the baby cubs, they say they are currently investigating.
“This is a very sad and unfortunate situation,” said Minister of Environment Mary 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.”