(WASHINGTON) – Following a public records request from the Humane Society of the United States, the Alaska Department of Public Safety has released video footage of Andrew and Owen Renner, the father and son who were caught on camera illegally and brutally killing and butchering a hibernating mother black bear and her two shrieking cubs at point blank range on Esther Island, Alaska in April 2018. The organization wanted to acquire the video to show the sheer brutality and cruelty involved in killing a mother bear and her cubs – an action that could soon be allowed on national preserve lands in Alaska. The bears were part of a study being conducted by the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and were being recorded by a motion activated game camera placed at their den site in connection with the study.
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said: “This video of a father and son killing a mother bear and her babies in their den and showing complete disregard for the lives they are taking is reprehensible. The Renners’ actions demonstrate the ruthless brutality that the government is poised to enact into law on millions of acres in Alaska, overturning a 2015 Obama-era rule that prohibits the killing of black bear mothers and cubs in their dens on these lands. This kind of killing runs contrary to the very purpose of federal public lands like national preserves and national wildlife refuges. It is too sad and too late for this mom and her babies, but not too late for the government to abandon this heartless plan to enable such killing and instead maintain the rules that protect America’s iconic wildlife.”
The footage, which the HSUS obtained and released in an edited form today, includes graphic scenes of the crime that the Renners were charged with in August 2018. They pleaded guilty in January 2019 and received fines and a jail sentence. The sentence also included the temporary loss of their hunting privileges and confiscation of personal property.
Although the practice of killing a denning bear and her cubs was illegal in the game unit where the Renners killed these bears, it is lawful in certain areas under Alaska state law, and the federal government is currently seeking to expand where practices like this can occur. The Trump administration is pursuing rules to rollback Obama-era prohibitions of various egregious killing methods, such as killing a denning bear and her cubs, on national preserves and the Kenai national wildlife refuge in Alaska.
“This video footage makes clear how important it is to stop those rollback rules from going into effect, by letting the public see for themselves how horrific this activity is and why it has no place on our public lands,” added Block.
Fact sheet: click HERE
Photos and b-roll video of the Renners illegally and brutally killing and butchering a hibernating mother black bear and her two shrieking cubs at point blank range on Esther Island, Alaska in April 2018: click HERE.
Photos of other Alaska bears in the wild: click HERE.