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A Canadian Conservation Officer Was Suspended For Refusing To Kill Two Bear Cubs

Officer Bryce Casavant is now the subject of an online petition.

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A B.C. wildlife conservation officer was ordered to put down these two bear cubs after their mother was destroyed for raiding a meat freezer at a mobile home. Officer Bryce Casavant of Port Hardy, Vancouver Island, defied the order and was suspended.

North Island Wildlife Recovery Association / Via niwra.org

Casavant's suspension is now the subject of an online petition for reinstatement that has garnered over 40,000 signatures, as well as public support from actor Ricky Gervais.

Bryce Casavant, conservation officer, suspended for refusing to kill bear cubs http://t.co/E6AKvu6Kyd Reinstate this honourable man.

The suspension was initially without pay, but his union announced today that Casavant's pay has been reinstated.

BREAKING: Govt continues conservation officer suspension but WITH PAY. BCGEU continues to press for full reinstatement. #bcpoli

"We'll file a grievance on behalf of him and we're going to aggressively defend him in his decision to do his job, which is to conserve wildlife where appropriate," said B.C. Government and Service Employees Union president Stephanie Smith.

"Current policy actually allows conservation officers to make a judgment on whether to euthanize animals if they're not considered a public safety issue."

The petition is also a matter of discussion in Hunting BC, a popular online forum for hunters in the province. A longtime member named Bruin encouraged others to sign the petition, and said he knows Casavant personally.

Here's what Bruin said about the suspended officer:

When we get a good CO, one that's willing to use common sense and think big picture, I think it's important to support and protect him. My personal experience with Bryce is that he is just that! He works his butt off for wildlife and the local community. Please read and sign the petition below, the CO Service could use more members like Bryce!

The twin bears are currently being kept at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association. They have been given the names Jordan and Athena.

North Island Wildlife Recovery Association / Via niwra.org

"We will have them in our care for 18 months until they can be released back to the wild," according to the association.

Craig Silverman is Media Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at craig.silverman@buzzfeed.com.

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