NEWS
06/02/2014 09:08 EDT | Updated 08/02/2014 05:59 EDT

Mutilated black bear carcass found in North Vancouver

The mutilated carcass of a black bear, with its skull missing, its claws removed and its stomach slashed open, has been found in North Vancouver.

- On mobile? Click here for photos of the bear carcass. Warning - gallery contains disturbing images 

People walking in the Capilano River Regional Park found the carcass of the young male bear on Monday near Camp Capilano, a cabin providing children's camp lodging.

Sgt. Todd Hunter with the Conservation Officers Service says the authorities do not yet know what killed the bear, but that it was a human who removed its skull and claws.

"We do not know how the carcass got to the location, or how the animal died," said Hunter. "It is a suspicious occurrence and we have initiated an investigation."

Hunter said the carcass could be the result of the legal black bear hunt, which runs from April 1 to June 15 in B.C., although hunting is not allowed on the North Shore.

"We could have an issue here that a legally harvested black bear was taken to this location and dumped here," he said.

By law, hunters who kill black bears are required to take the edible portions of the carcass to their home, although Hunter said other bear parts such as the paws are traded on the black market. 

Hunter added that charges may be forthcoming if their investigation showed the animal had been illegally dumped or illegally killed.

He urged anyone who is legally hunting to adopt a responsible approach to discarding animal carcasses.

Anyone with information is asked to call the conservation officer poaching hotline on 1-877-952-7277 or use the online form on the B.C. Ministry of Environment's website.

Google Map: Camp Capilano on Vancouver's North Shore