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EDMONTON -- Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers euthanized a grizzly bear on Sunday after it was shot in the spine.

“The witness said there was a lot of drag marks on the ground so it appears that the bear had drug itself around for quite some time,” said Fish and Wildlife Officer Curtis English.

The grizzly was a “healthy, mature” male according to English, and was found in a remote area around 30 kilometers from Whitecourt.

Fish and Wildlife are investigating the incident as poaching. They believe the bear was shot Friday or Saturday.

“Just to be clear: it’s not a hunter that did something like this—it’s a poacher,” said English. “With regards to self-defense arguments, we take certain forensic evidence from the weapon that killed the animal and we can determine whether it was shot face on, shot from the side, if it was shot while it was escaping. Generally the people involved in those scenarios will call us right after it happens.”

English said Fish and Wildlife did not receive any such call. There is no hunting season for grizzlies in Alberta and while English said that Indigenous hunters can hunt the bears, they have to consume them afterwards.

“I think it’s important that Albertans realize what goes on in back country of their own province. Hunters and sportsmen would never support this kind of activity.”

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is asking anyone with information to contact them by phone at 1-800-642-3800 or file a report online at www.alberta.ca/report-poacher.aspx.