Posts Tagged "body"


Bear cub, rescued near mother’s body, dies in B.C. wildlife refuge

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An orphaned black bear cub rescued near Tofino, B.C. is shown in a handout photo. The cub died after apparently getting tangled in a rope enrichment device at its enclosure.

A British Columbia wildlife refuge says staff are upset and shocked after a bear cub that was rescued near his mother’s dead body this spring died unexpectedly in his enclosure.

The bear named Malcolm was asphyxiated after getting his head stuck in a small rope handle attached to a plastic buoy, the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre said in a statement on Monday.

“In the morning of his death, he was routinely observed on the cameras playing contentedly on the large tree stumps that had been provided in his cage. In the mid-afternoon, animal care staff were at the pre-release building and opened the food hatch to check on Malcolm’s activities,” the centre said.

“At that time the cub was seen to be immobile and on the ground beside one of the tree stumps. Staff immediately entered the enclosure recognizing that there was a serious problem. … There were no signs of a struggle and we suspect he got his head through the loop and then very quickly asphyxiated.”

There has been a buoy suspended by a chain from a tree stump in Malcolm’s enclosure since he was first introduced, it said. The buoys have been a common source of enrichment for bears and there have never been any hints of injuries or mishaps, it added.

“We feel that it represents a very unfortunate accident involving an extremely rare set of circumstances. Caring for these special animals is an emotionally intense experience and we feel this loss profoundly. However, we will learn from this and be better at what we do,” the centre said.

Founder and operations manager Robin Campbell said in an interview that the centre has now removed the ropes attached to the buoys from all enclosures. He said in 20 years there had never been an incident like this.

“It’s just a terrible, terrible thing,” he said.

The cub was about eight to 12 weeks old and extremely malnourished when it was discovered in May lying on its mother’s carcass in Tofino, B.C.

“There was a lot of drama in saving it,” Campbell said. “Every little step of the way was like a little miracle. So when he finally turned into this wild bear and he was in his home stretch, all he had to do was go into hibernation and then next summer he would have been released.”

The centre’s statement said despite some initial health problems associated with emaciation and hypoglycemia, the bear had shown good physical and behavioural progress while in care. He was sedated and examined on Oct. 18 and found to be healthy and in very good body condition, so he was moved to a pre-release enclosure.

The enclosure affords lots of space and enrichment and less contact with people, but allows for good CCTV monitoring from several angles, the centre said.

Jennifer Steven and her husband John Forde, co-owners of the Whale Centre in Tofino, spotted the tiny cub in Ross Pass in May and rescued it by scooping it into a dog kennel.

Steven said Monday she was “devastated” by the bear’s death but she hoped people would not blame the wildlife refuge.

“It’s sad because so much was put into the effort to save the bear. Accidents happen in life and there’s definitely no hard feelings against the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. They did so much to save that cub,” she said.

She and her husband visited the cub a few times at the wildlife refuge and he appeared to be doing great, she said. The refuge also sent them videos showing his growth into a “very large” bear, she said.

There are many animals that would die without the centre, Steven said, and she urged people to support it.

“They did the best that they could and accidents happen. We always learn from accidents like this, and if they can be prevented, great,” she said.

“I hope everyone can make a small donation to them because he’s not the only bear there, he’s not the only animal there, and they do such a good job.”

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Man accused of killing Japanese student told brother where body was, court hears

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Weeks before being charged with the murder of a Japanese student he was dating, William Schneider was “sad” and “upset” over the inability to have a relationship with his teenage son in Japan, his murder trial heard Thursday.

The revelations were part of the testimony from his older brother, Warren Schneider of Kelowna, the Crown’s main witness in the second-degree murder trial.

William Schneider also faces a charge of committing an indignity against a human body. He has pleaded not guilty in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Thursday was the fourth day of the trial before judge and jury.

Warren told court that William had travelled to Japan in June and July of 2016 to visit his teenage son, Ricky, and was upset that his estranged wife wouldn’t return to Canada with their son or let the boy take his surname.

“The vacation didn’t go the way (William) wanted,” said Warren. “He was sad and lost and didn’t succeed in keeping a steady relationship with his son.”

A week after returning from Japan, William moved in to a men’s hostel, where he lived for the next six weeks, during which time he met Natsumi Kogawa.

Her body was found in a suitcase in Vancouver’s West End on Sept. 28, 2016, about two weeks after friends reported her missing.

The body of Natsumi Kogawa, a 30-year-old Japanese student, was found Sept. 28 at the abandoned Gabriola mansion on Davie Street.

Warren Schneider, according to prosecutor Geordie Proulx’s opening statement on the first day of the trial, overheard his younger brother telling his estranged wife in Japan on the phone that “I did it” or “I killed her.”

But the eight-woman, four-man jury on Thursday didn’t hear Warren testify about that phone call.

He did testify how he learned William was being sought as a suspect in the case of a missing Japanese student in Vancouver.

After police posted a photo from CCTV footage showing Kogawa and William walking together, Warren’s daughter in Kelowna contacted Warren to ask if it was Willie, as he is called, in the photo.

William Victor Schneider, is pictured here alongside Japanese student Natsumi Kogawa.


It was a week after William had shown up in Kelowna, telling Warren and their half-brother Kevin that “he had done something bad” before leaving them shortly after arriving.

“What did you conclude?” Proulx asked Warren after he saw the photo.

“The worst,” replied Warren.

He called William in Vernon, at their father’s home, and told him about the photo, and William hung up without a word, he testified.

He drove to Vernon that night and then walked with William to buy beer.

During the walk, William said “that it’s true,” said Warren, adding he was “referring to (an) article on the Internet (about) the missing Japanese student. He brought it up. I didn’t pry.”


The brothers that evening drank together in the park and agreed to talk more the next day, Warren said.

The next morning, William bought some heroin with the intention of committing suicide by overdosing, Warren testified. He said William told him where to find Kogawa’s body in Vancouver so Warren could tell police after he was dead.

Warren said he took several photos of them and then called 911 to report a heroin overdose at the park.

But William didn’t overdose. “(William) realized he got ripped off. (The heroin) wasn’t strong enough and he didn’t die,” Warren said.

Later, the men’s half-sister called Warren, who told her that he was with Willie “and we were hugging goodbye because (William) had planned on getting some more heroin” to commit suicide.

The sister picked up Warren and drove him to the police station.

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