There are some things in life that are simply evil, and while this act certainly doesn’t rise to the level of historical events such as the carnage inflicted during WWII, or the senseless mass-shootings infecting our nation, it nevertheless illustrates the dark-side of human-nature.
Andrew Renner, 41, along with his 18-year old son, Owen were sentenced Tuesday over the poaching of a black mother bear, while she and her two newborn cubs slept huddled together in her den.
The egregious act was captured on video by a nearby research camera, installed outside the den as part of a bear study by the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
According to investigators, the duo skied to the site on Esther Island in Prince William Sound, hiked a few miles to the bear’s den and shot all three bears, at point-blank range, while they slept.
The detailed affidavit chronicles the series of events, describing how Owen Renner silently approached the hibernating bear and shot it in the head twice in front of the newborn cubs “shrieking in the den,” at which point the senior Renner turned his rifle towards the cowering cubs and fired at them point-blank, killing them instantly, however unbeknown to the heartless duo the bloody carnage was captured on a motion-activated camera.
Assistant Attorney General Aaron Peterson told the court it was the “most egregious bear cub poaching case his office has ever seen.”
Adding, “What we saw is that there were two bear cubs that were completely defenseless and were shot at point-blank range.”
According to the Anchorage Daily News, the senior Renner was convicted on 8-counts of illegal killings and transporting the 3-bears along with the falsifying of the sealing certificate. He was sentenced to three months in jail, fined 1,800 dollars in restitution, plus an additional fine of 9,000 dollars, including revoking his hunting license for 10-years.
Renner also forfeited property that was confiscated from him, including a 22-foot Sea Sports ocean boat and trailer, a 2012 GMC Sierra pickup, two rifles, two handguns, two iPhones and two sets of backcountry skis that were used in the crime.
As for his son Owen, he received a 30-day suspended sentence and was also ordered to pay 1,800 dollars in restitution, along with his hunting license being suspended for 2-years, in the 2018 slaughter of the 3-bears.
Although this horrific incident had a just outcome, the sad reality is few poachers are ever actually caught.
In a related incident, a horrifying wildfire in 2014, ravaged parts of Washington State, a badly burned black bear near death, miraculously survived the inferno.
Burned over a large portion of its body, first responders and veterinarians named the gravely injured bear Cinder and gave the animal little hope of surviving. Cinder was rushed to the California-based Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, which treated her burns.
Days passed, and then weeks, as dedicated veterinarians fought to stabilize Cinder. Remarkably with continuous rehabilitation and care, and Cinder’s will to survive, she pulled through.
She was sent to Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation to continue her recovery before being released with a tracking collar, in June 2015 at the age of two.
The story of Cinder’s miraculous recovery against overwhelming odds made national news which in-turn inspired a children’s e-book in her honor.
Rich Beausoleil, a bear specialist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told Fox News on Tuesday that he and his associate in December 2017 hiked to the area near Cinder’s den and placed cameras “in hopes to get pictures of her” and possibly cubs.
“But due to heavy snow loads in the spring and the cougar creek fire and smoke in the summer we were not able to go back and retrieve the cameras until September 2018,” Beausoleil explained.
However, upon their return to the den site, Beausoleil discovered Cinder’s skeletal remains. A hunter had apparently shot Cinder and then cut off her tracking collar, which was why it stopped transmitting.
Beausoleil acknowledged that it’s legal to kill a bear with a radio collar in Washington State. However, it’s “mandatory online reporting,” when such a killing takes place.
Adding, “The hunter only has to tell us the sex and the GMU [game management unit] it was killed in. All my contact info is on the collar, but the hunter chose not to call. I don’t know why.”