British Columbia conservation officers are asking the public for help in identifying those involved in the illegal killing of a black bear.

Found on Haida Gwaii, a wildlife-rich archipelago off British Columbia’s western coast, a headless black bear lie dead on the beach.

“The head was removed, but the rest of the bear was intact,” Sgt. Kyle Ackles of the Conservation Officer Service told CBC News. “My understanding is that it’d been there for a couple days.”

The large adult male bear was killed by a shot from a rifle and sparked outrage across the province as images were posted on Facebook earlier this week.  While the motive is relatively unclear, conservation officers are led to believe the animal was killed only for its skull.

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Image: Arlene Erlandson

The carcass was promptly removed by the conservation service so as to not attract additional bears to the region.  This is the second such incident in only a month’s time in the region, as reports surfaced of another wasted bear found on the beach.

“About a month ago, I had another incident where a bear carcass was found on the beach. Nothing from that animal was harvested,” Ackles said.

Anyone with information about either incident is urged to call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

“I do really depend on the public to report suspicious activity,” he said.