A number of emails allegedly ordering the conservation officer suspended for refusing to destroy orphaned bear cubs in Port Hardy to euthanize the animals has been released by someone claiming to have affiliation to the international hacker group Anonymous.
Conservation officer Bryce Casavant was suspended pending a performance investigation, after refusing to put down the bear cubs this weekend.
The two cubs were sent to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association, where they are currently being taken care of.
Now, a series of emails that appear to show the ‘back and forth’ between a person purporting to be Casavant and the party whose email address has been redacted has been leaked to a number of media outlets Friday morning.
The emails appear to show Casavant repeatedly defending his decision not to destroy the cubs.
They contain a communication about a local resident, who has allegedly complained about the bears making daily appearances at his home.
The next communication advises the conservation officer that the bears need to be euthanized as soon as possible because they are garbage habituated and there is “no choice” left.
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The emails also state the cubs are “not rehab candidates.”
But Casavant purportedly claims his assessment says otherwise and that the cubs do not appear to have accessed garbage and do not pose a risk to public safety.
“My duties as a law enforcement officer do not include the needless destruction of a baby animal that can be rehabilitate,” he allegedly writes. “If a provincial vet would like to do a full health and behavioural assessment for potential euthanization at a later time then that is the call of an informed decision maker who is a qualified veterinarian and will abide by zoology best practices for the destruction of an animal.”
The next email states Casavant has been removed from duty effective immediately.
The province told Global News the Office of the Chief Information Officer has investigated allegations that emails from the Ministry of Environment have been obtained by a hacker group and found no evidence that the government’s email system was hacked and the system remains secure.
Allegations of this nature are taken very seriously and the protection of our data and networks is a top priority. Although no organization is completely immune, we work on an ongoing basis to ensure the security of government systems.
There has been no comment on the authenticity of these emails.
When reached for comment, officer Casavant told Global News he could not comment at this time.
An online petition has been launched to re-instate the conservation officer, collecting more than 134,000 signatures so far. There is also an online fundraising campaign to support the care of the cubs.