UCLUELET, B.C. — Parks officials are at a loss to explain why someone dumped a large pile of fish, shellfish, game meat and bear parts in a national park on Vancouver Island.
Wardens at the Pacific Rim National Park, a massive nature reserve of thick rainforest and pristine coastline on the island’s west coast, made the discovery on Monday on the side of an access road.
Photographs distributed by Parks Canada show large pieces of red meat, fish and shellfish spread out on the roadway along with a black bear hide and four bear paws.
“We’re all scratching our heads on this one,” said park superintendent Dave McVetty.
“I’ve been the superintendent of the park only since the summer, and certainly this is the first time I’ve ever come across a situation like this. And in my 24 years with Parks Canada, I’m sure it’s happened, but I’ve never been aware of anything like this.”
McVetty said it’s not yet clear whether the animals were killed inside the park or were brought in from elsewhere. He noted the access road, which is used by wardens and park visitors, leads to an area near a boat dock.
McVetty said the investigation is focusing on potential illegal hunting, and he said the bear parts are of particular concern.
“If it was beef, for example, we would be looking at it differently and not necessarily as a contravention of the Canada National Parks Act. But the fact that there are bear parts in there suggests that perhaps there was, but, again, we really don’t know.”
The RCMP, Parks Canada, Natural Resources Canada and the B.C. Environment Ministry were all involved in the investigation.
Parks Canada is asking anyone with information about the animal parts to contact the department or the RCMP.