07/08/2015 04:11 EDT | Updated 07/08/2015 11:59 EDT

Bryce Casavant Petition: Public Rallies Behind Suspended B.C. Conservation Officer

UPDATE - 1 p.m.:Officer Bryce Casavant has had his pay reinstated, but his suspension is ongoing, according to the B.C. Government And Service Employees' Union.

PORT HARDY, B.C. - A B.C. Conservation officer has been suspended without pay after he reportedly refused an order to put down two bear cubs last weekend.

The cubs were orphaned after their mother was destroyed for breaking into a meat freezer inside a mobile home in Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.

After tranquilizing the cubs, Bryce Casavant brought them to a vet to be checked out and then to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association operated by Robin Campbell.

Campbell says the bears, believed to be around eight weeks old, were at the home only because they were looking for their mother.

An online petition has been launched by the association calling on B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak to reinstate Casavant.

The petition had collected well over 17,000 names by early Wednesday. (News1130)

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Photo gallery Orphaned Black Bear Cubs, July 2015 See Gallery