The contractor of an oil and gas company rolled over and killed a bear hibernating in a den in a gruesome accident involving a mulching machine. The incident is particularly upsetting to First Nations officials in British Columbia, Canada, on whose territory the accident occurred.
The Canadian Broadcast Company reported the bear was killed instantly by the machine, which was part of a land clearing project commissioned by the company Apache.
“We requested that there be a plan going forward so that this never happens again. The fact that a bear was killed as a result of oil and gas activities in our territory is absolutely unacceptable to our community and to who we are as a people,” Lana Lowe of the Fort Nelson First Nation Lands Department told CBC after learning of the incident.
Lowe explained that to the First Nations people, the bears are important spiritually.
“We view the bears as our cousins. In many ways, this has been treated as a fatality, not a mortality,” she told CBC.
Going forward, the First Nation and Apache are mapping out areas where bear dens could be in order to avoid another incident. Lowe noted that Apache took the accident seriously.
Neither Apache or its contractor will face any fines for the accident, according to CBC.
The oil and gas company has shown its commitment to help protect and restore wildlife in the past. In September 2013 it donated 150,000 trees to Black Bear Conservation Coalition in order to restore the habitat for black bears in Louisiana.