Former NHL agent forced to pay thousands of dollars for feeding bears

Apr 20 2023, 11:18 pm

Years after videos emerged of black bears being hand-fed crackers and spaghetti in a BC backyard, a judge has handed down sentencing to the man at the centre of the high-profile investigation.

Vitali Shevchenko, 56, pleaded guilty and was fined $5,000 in a North Vancouver courtroom this week for feeding dangerous wildlife under the Wildlife Act.

Shevchenko is a former NHL player agent who once represented the late Vladimir Krutov, a star Russian player who played one season for the Vancouver Canucks in 1989-90.

Shevchenko, now a West Vancouver resident, was charged in connection to videos that were shared on his social media account. Those videos made their way into the hands of authorities and a long investigation began amidst outcries from animal rights groups in the area.

In now-deleted social media posts from 2017 and 2018, a family can be seen coaxing a mother bear and her bear cubs with food on several occasions, including a video that showed a man boldly giving the animals crackers. The footage also showed two young girls offering food through an opening in the door of the home.

Bear cub feeding

A screen grab from a now-deleted video of a child feeding a bear cub (Instagram)

The bears in the videos were not destroyed, according to the service, which is sadly not the case in other situations as the animals become habituated to humans.

The fine for breaking this law also includes a section that allows the judge to force the guilty person to pay the fine plus make a donation to an environmental cause. In this case, he’s required to pay $4,800 to the Conservation Habitat Trust Fund, based in BC.

Claire FentonClaire Fenton

+ News
+ Pets & Animals
+ Canada
+ Crime
+ Canada