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Canada  

$13,000 for killing grizzly

An Alberta man charged with killing a collared grizzly bear that was being tracked for research will pay nearly $13,000 in fines, but some say it doesn't go far enough to protect the threatened species.

Ronald Raymond Motkoski pleaded guilty earlier this month in an Edson, Alta., courtroom to possession of wildlife and was fined $2,500. He's also required to pay $5,000 to Alberta's BearSmart program and $5,202.76 for the cost of the tracking collar.

Motkoski was charged in June 2016 after Fish and Wildlife officers were notified by fRI Research that a collar put on grizzly bear No. 141 in Jasper National Park had stopped working near Edson.

Motkoski told researchers he shot the bear, but the Crown prosecutor withdrew the charge of hunting wildlife in a closed season and providing a false or misleading statement. A spokesperson for the province said the charges were withdrawn because some of the evidence did not suggest a reasonable likelihood of conviction.

"It's absolutely scandalous," said Jill Seaton, chair of the Jasper Environmental Association. "The grizzly bear in Alberta is a threatened species."

Gordon Stenhouse, a scientist with the fRI Research Grizzly Bear Program, said he also had higher expectations. "I thought there would be a different outcome," he said, noting the maximum fine is $100,000.

Grizzly bears were listed as threatened in Alberta in 2010 when it was determined there were only about 700 left. Poaching remains a problem, with statistics showing at least 39 grizzly bears have been killed illegally since a legal hunt ended in 2005.



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