Wild Bears Used As Guard Dogs in Marijuana Fields
Police are pictured with two of the 14 wild black bears that were guarding an illegal marijuana growing operation after July 30, 2010 raid on the property in the Christina Lake area of westernmost Canada. Photo courtesy: AFP.
The Toronto Star via YellowBrix
August 19, 2010
CHRISTINA LAKE, British Columbia — Marijuana growers in the B.C. Interior are using a new kind of bear trap, but its not bears they’re trapping.
Police uncovered two separate outdoor marijuana crops of about 2,300 plants near Christina Lake, just a few kilometres from the Canada-U.S. border.
When officers arrived in the area two weeks ago, they found 13 black bears wandering around the crops and then discovered the bears had been fed dog food.
RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the officers were a little nervous to say the least, and cautiously went about making the seizure.
“As the members are conducting the search of the house, at one point in time the (home owner) has to shoo a bear out of the residence and out of the way, coming out of the basement,” he said.
“The owner tried to assure, ‘Don’t worry, they won’t become aggressive towards you, just don’t approach them and things will be fine. Certainly it’s a little bit of an odd situation to be in.”
He said the bears were very docile and it was obvious they were habituated to humans, acting unconcerned by the officers’ presence.
Moskaluk said it appears the alleged growers either liked having the animals around, or were using the bears to protect their grow operations.
During their search, the officers also stumbled across a roaming pot-bellied pig and a raccoon napping in one of the bedrooms.
“The pig was a little frantic at the sight of police, but the raccoon was pretty laid back about the bust and took it all in stride,” said Moskaluk.
Two adults in their 40s, both from the Christina Lake area, have been arrested and face charges of production and possession of a controlled substance.
No people or animals were harmed during the arrests, Moskaluk added.
Area conservation officers have been notified about the situation and Moskaluk said the bears may face an unhappy outcome if they are deemed too habituated.
Dozens of bears are killed every year in B.C. because they rely on human food sources and then become a threat to public safety.