Conservation officers are hunting through the bush south of Kamloops, B.C., searching for a bear that has been feeding on human remains.
Environment Minister Terry Lake, MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson, said the bruin did not attack and kill the victim but, to ensure the protection of the public, it will be destroyed if it is found.
It appears the unidentified man had already been dead for a few days when the bear found him in a car on a rural road in the southern interior, said regional coroner Mark Coleman.
A statement released Thursday by Kamloops RCMP said that although the circumstances surrounding the death are unusual, there was no evidence of foul play.
Investigations suggest the animal pulled the man's body through the open driver's side window of the 1986 Volkswagen Jetta, said Staff Sergeant Grant Learned, spokesman for the Kamloops RCMP. The car was on a remote stretch of Long Lake Road, between Kamloops and Merritt.
The corpse was dragged about 120 metres away from the car, where a group of hunters found the body Wednesday night, partially eaten, surrounded by animal tracks, and covered up with brush and leaves.
Contrary to some media reports, the bear did not dig a hole in the ground and bury the corpse, said Staff Sgt. Learned. "They don't bury their food cache like a dog will bury a bone," he said, "but they will cover the body to conceal it from other predators."
The remains were removed and transported to the morgue at the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. Although the victim has not been positively identified, the RCMP said the car is registered to a 54-year-old man who had been living and working in the Kamloops area, where he was last seen May 23. Hard drugs and paraphernalia were also found in the car.
"When you are in the bear's domain," said Staff Sgt. Learned, "once you get outside of the city and you start going into the wild, you are just another source of prey in the food chain, whether you are living prey, or whether you are deceased."
With a report from The Canadian Press