Mali the grizzly bear who was shot in Broughton Archipelago after being relocated from Hanson Island. (Photo/Grizzly Bear Foundation)

Mali the grizzly bear who was shot in Broughton Archipelago after being relocated from Hanson Island. (Photo/Grizzly Bear Foundation)

Mali, the grizzly shot after an epic relocation, to be buried today on First Nation’s land

Mamalilikulla chief, Richard Sumner said despite unanswered questions, they will not press for further investigation

Mali, a grizzly bear shot just days after an epic relocation from Hanson Island, will make a final journey today to burial grounds on First Nations territory in the Broughton Archipelago.

Mamalilukulla chief Richard Sumner confirmed that the bear’s burial will take place on Village Island after the B.C. Conservation Officer Service has returned the body.

Sumner was shocked to hear that the bear was shot to death on April 20, after it had been relocated on April 9. He says questions still remain about the circumstances of the bear’s death.

Mamalilikulla Guardian manager Jake Smith and Sumner had worked with conservation services, the provincial environment ministry, and non-profits agencies including the Grizzly Bear Foundation, to relocate the bear from Hanson Island.

Mali was shot by a citizen outside a remote cabin at an undisclosed location in the Broughton Archipelago, after the bear travelled 30 kilometres from the “isolated” area to which it had been relocated.

B.C. Conservation Officer Service concluded the investigation by declaring the shooting as an act of self-defence.

READ MORE: Grizzly bear just relocated from Vancouver Island shot dead

While Sumner and his nation members did not call for further investigation, the chief felt the information provided about the circumstances of Mali’s death was limited, and there were “unanswered questions.”

Sumner said that he would like to know who shot the bear and where. He also wondered how the person managed to get in the position where they felt their life was in danger.

According to Sumner, the bear apparently came back after it was scared off once. If so, the question is whether the person was waiting for the bear to return, he said.

Ben York, the conservation officer who handled the case, said there was no reason to believe the bear was shot for any reason other than self-defence. He added that there’s really no way to predict bears’ behaviour.

The bear was relocated to Hoeya Sound in Knight Inlet, famous for grizzly bear tours and sightings, after consultation with provincial biologists and First Nation members.

It was done “hastily,” said Sumner, following negotiations with conservation officers who would have otherwise “put down the bear” after it turned up on Hanson Island searching for food.

Sumner and Smith decided upon moving the bear to Hoeya Sound because it is traditional bear habitat.

The area recorded a severe salmon shortage last year and images of emaciated grizzlies made news. Smith and fellow Mamalilikulla members addressed this shortage last year by feeding more than 500 salmon to the bears in the vicinity.

But despite another seasonal food shortage in the area, Mali was moved to Hoeya Sound because Smith felt it would be safe there.

Food scarcity in bear habitats is also why bears are wandering further from their usual territory, said Smith, adding that these are red flags that need to be addressed by authorities.

“We can move these animals all around the place, but if there is no food source then all efforts will fail,” said Smith.

For Sumner too, it was a lesson learned. In future, relocation must be accompanied by after-care to see how the animal is adapting to its new environment, he maintained.

READ ALSO: After grizzly spotted in Sayward, mayor warns not to come searching for the bears

ConservationEnvironmentgrizzly

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Higher sales of cannabis helped Canadian farmers come out in the green. (Black Press Media File)
Higher cannabis sales grew the income of Canadian farmers

Higher cannabis receipts added $1.7 billion to the revenue of farmers

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

Itty, a Siamese cat, has been missing since a house fire in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood on Friday, Nov. 27. Her owner says she has white fur with blonde and grey markings. (Facebook/ROAM)
Cat goes missing after house fire in Fernwood neighbourhood

‘Itty’ has white fur, blonde and grey markings and blue eyes

Westcoast Impressions plans to organize a COVID-19 friendly version of the event in 2021 at the Mary Winspear Centre after having cancelled the 2020 version against the backdrop of pandemic. The opening night of the 2019 Sidney Street Market featured more than 150 vendors lined along Beacon Avenue. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney Street Market plans for 2021 return at Mary Winspear Centre

Tentative plan calls for the event’s return to Beacon Avenue after COVID-19 pandemic

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read