Haida Gwaii bear hunters fined

  • Jan. 28, 2013 1:00 p.m.

Three Lower Mainland residents have been fined a total of $6,500 for killing three black bears on Haida Gwaii in 2011 after the hunting season had closed. The Haida Gwaii recreational black bear hunting season opens on April 1 and closes after four bears have been killed. Once the limit has been reached, notices are published that the season has closed. Bear hunters on Haida Gwaii are required to report their kill to government officials and have the bear inspected. According to the Ministry of the Environment, the first bear was shot by Xu Zheng in June 2011. Mr. Zheng then returned to the islands in October 2011 with Jin Yun Zhang and Chang Shun Huang. Mr. Zhang and Mr. Huang each shot and killed a black bear. On Oct. 17, 2011, Sandspit airport security alerted the RCMP and the Conservation Officer Service that the three men were flying out of the Sandspit airport with what appeared to be bear parts in their checked luggage. Arrangements were made and members of the Richmond RCMP intercepted the hunters when they landed at the Vancouver Airport later that day. A full investigation was launched and completed by the Conservation Officer Service. The men were formally charged and pleaded guilty in July 2012. In October, they were sentenced and fined a total of $2,000 for their offences, and were each ordered to pay an additional $1,500 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, for a total of $6,500 in penalties. The three men have also been prohibited from hunting in BC until they have retaken and successfully completed the Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Education program.