“Bryce Casavant, conservation officer, suspended for refusing to kill bear cubs […] Reinstate this honourable man,” the British comedian tweeted.
B.C-based Casavant had been ordered to destroy the orphaned cubs after their mother had become habituated with humans, repeatedly breaking into one Port Hardy home and posing a significant risk to residents.
However, the conservation officer argued that the cubs – estimated to be about eight weeks old – were not yet accustomed to human contact and could be successfully reintegrated into the wild.
Casavant then worked closely with a local fire crew to rescue the baby bears from a tree, tranquilize them by hand and deliver them to a specialist wildlife recovery facility.
His efforts, however, did not go down well with employers – Casavant was suspended without pay pending a performance investigation.
An online petition was set up and while the B.C government has not reinstated Casavant, it has yielded somewhat to the growing public pressure – he will now remain on the payroll during his suspension.
“I think it is important for the community to know that I am here to do the right thing,” Casavant said.
Environment Minister Mary Polak issued a statement calling the situation "very sad and unfortunate" – she confirmed an investigation had been launched.
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A conservation officer who was suspended for refusing to kill two black bear cubs has earned A-list support after Ricky Gervais publically commented on the case.