Officials have released footage showing a father and son in Alaska illegally killing a mother bear and her two cubs, who were under video surveillance as part of a governmental study.
Recorded by the Alaska Department of Public Safety, the April 2018 footage showed Andrew Renner, 41, and Owen Renner, then 17, skiing to the den before Owen fires two shots at the sow and his father fatally shoots her cubs and removes their carcasses from the den. The pair are then overheard saying “they’ll never be able to link it to us” and “we go where we want to kill s**t,” according to KTUU.
The Humane Society publicized the video months after the Renners were sentenced for multiple poaching charges. Andrew was sentenced to three months in jail and received a 10-year hunting ban while his son got a 30-day suspended sentence was ordered to complete community service.
In an August 2018 statement, the Department of Public Safety said Andrew came to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s office with the sow’s skin and collar and claimed he killed the mother bear before realizing it had teats. Not only did video footage contradict his claims, but motion-activated cameras overlooking the den caught the pair return to the site two days after the poachings to retrieve shell casings and dispose of the cubs’ carcasses.
Black bear hunting is legal in the area from September to June, though the poaching incident occurred in April. It’s also illegal in most areas of Alaska to kill bear cubs or a mother bear with her cubs.
“The hunting of cubs, or a mother bear with cubs, is illegal in this part of Alaska. But that didn’t stop the Renners from murdering innocent animals, posing for a picture with the dead mother on the bloodstained snow and smugly stating, ‘We go where we want to kill,’” the Humane Society said in a call-to-action recently posted on their website.
“If this heinous cruelty occurs while protections are already in place, overturning them would all but encourage these massacres to continue. We need more federal protections, not less, to ensure that these types of cruel and horrific activities are banned for good.”
***WARNING: The video below is graphic in nature and could be disturbing to some viewers. Please use discretion.***
[Featured image: Alaska Department of Public Safety video screengrab]