Blue River Safari has been fined $35,000 for baiting bears — the largest fine amount ever delivered in a B.C. court for attracting dangerous wildlife. The fine delivered on Nov. 25 is a precedent-setting case for British Columbia Conservation Officer Services. Photo by Bruce Warrington

Blue River Safari has been fined $35,000 for baiting bears — the largest fine amount ever delivered in a B.C. court for attracting dangerous wildlife. The fine delivered on Nov. 25 is a precedent-setting case for British Columbia Conservation Officer Services. Photo by Bruce Warrington

B.C. tour company fined $35K for baiting bears with peanut butter, meatballs

Case marks largest fine amount ever delivered in a B.C. court for attracting dangerous wildlife

A wildlife tour company near Clearwater has been handed a $35,000 fine for baiting bears, making the largest fine amount ever delivered in a B.C. court for attracting dangerous wildlife.

According to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, the fine delivered on Nov. 25 against Blue River Safari is a precedent-setting case for the organization.

Siblings Russell and Debra Critchlow were each ordered to pay $17,400 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and were then fined an extra $200.

BCCOS began investigating in August 2017 after receiving a complaint the wildlife tour company had been baiting bears to increase sighting opportunities for clients.

READ MORE: Two cases of feeding bears being investigated in B.C.

Officers used electronic surveillance during the investigation and provincial court in Clearwater heard the company used cranberries, peanut butter and meatballs to attract the bears.

BCCOS noted such practices by tour companies are unlawful and make other companies within the legitimate industry look bad.

Blue River Safari was also ordered to develop an anti-bear baiting policy as well as undergo wildlife attractant inspections.

“Wildlife tour operators have a responsibility to ensure they conduct business in a lawful manner that is safe for clients, staff and the public,” BCCOS said.

“The primary concern of the COS is public safety. Illegally feeding or placing attractants to lure dangerous wildlife, such as bears, is an extremely dangerous activity.”

Once bears learn to associate humans with food, it creates an extraordinary public safety risk, BCCOS added, noting it hopes the large fine will deter any other would-be operators from a similar incident.

Anyone with information about feeding or placing attractants for dangerous wildlife is asked to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1-877-952-RAPP.



newsroom@clearwatertimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Okanagan Clinical Trials is looking at gut bacteria as a way of slowing down the development of Alzheimer’s. (Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo)
Okanagan study looking for volunteers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

The study is looking at how gut bacteria may help slow the disease

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
UPDATE: West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

A bus at downtown Kelowna’s Queensway Transit Exchange. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna transit system poised for recovery: transit manager

2021 numbers already show ridership levels at or higher than the projected recovery

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Most Read