Trial starts for man charged with ‘unlawfully’ killing polar bear in northwestern Canada

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A file photo of a mother bear and her cub near Churchill, Manitoba. (Elisha Dacey/CBC)
A man facing charges for allegedly hunting a polar bear in the Beaufort Delta region without tags is on trial Wednesday in Inuvik, in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

Justin Noah Elias, 30, pleaded not guilty to two charges under the Wildlife Act in February.

Renewable resource officer Tobias Joel Halle of Inuvik believes that Elias hunted a polar bear sometime between Aug. 29 and Sept. 6 last year on or near Garry Island, N.W.T., court documents show.

The charge wasn’t laid until Jan. 2, this year.

Garry Island is near the Kendall Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary in the outer Mackenzie Delta. It is a polar bear denning area.

Elias is alleged to have hunted the animal within the Southern Beaufort Sea Polar Bear Management Area without a tag, contrary to regulations of the Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee. He faces a second charge for allegedly possessing an “unlawfully harvested” polar bear in violation of the Wildlife Act.

Under the regulations, if a person kills a polar bear to prevent starvation, preserve their life or protect property, they must give the hide to an officer, who will then investigate.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: No charges against elder in Arctic Canada for killing polar bear and cub, CBC News

Finland: Elk hunting season increasingly bringing hunters and joggers in same areas in Finland, Yle News

Norway: Could drones help prevent polar bear attacks on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard?, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Authorities in northwest Russia move to protect wild reindeer, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s wolf numbers slide, illegal hunting blamed, Radio Sweden

United States: After deadly bear attack, hikers in Anchorage, Alaska weigh risks, Alaska Public Media

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Avery Zingel, CBC News

Avery Zingel, CBC News

For more news from Canada visit CBC News.

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