By Goat Staff

A Blue River wildlife tour company has been given a precedent-setting fine from the Conservation Officer Service. Siblings Russell and Debra Critchlow were both fined $17,400, and the money is to be paid to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

Their company Blue River Safari offers jet boat and jeep tours for bear and wildlife viewing.

Conservation Officers began investigating in August 2017 when a complaint was made about bear baiting and it was found that the company threw cranberries, peanut butter and meatballs to bait the animals.

“Unlawful practices by wildlife tour companies negatively impact the reputation of the legitimate industry in BC,” reads a release from the Conservation Service. “Wildlife tour operators have a responsibility to ensure they conduct business in a lawful manner that is safe for clients, staff and the public.”

They said the primary concern was public safety and they hope the significant fine will deter operators from a similar incident.

“Illegally feeding or placing attractants to lure dangerous wildlife such as bears is an extremely dangerous activity.”