An Alaskan man and his teenage son are facing a number of charges after they were accused of killing a female black bear and her two “shrieking” newborn cubs in April.
In a statement posted on Wednesday, the Alaska Department of Public Safety wrote that Andrew Renner, 41, and Owen Renner, 18, both from the city of Palmer, were charged in regard to information on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges. The information related to an incident that took place four months ago on Esther Island, in the northwest part of Prince William Sound. On April 14, the men allegedly shot and killed three black bears, including a mother and her two cubs, that were part of a study being conducted by the United States Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
According to the Washington Post, Andrew and Owen Renner were “unaware” that the bears were part of a government study on black bears and their habitats. As the organizations behind the research set up a motion-activated camera inside the den for monitoring purposes, authorities were able to obtain audio and video recordings of the incident and view the killing as it took place.
In the video, Owen Renner was reportedly shown firing two rounds at the sow, or mother black bear, while she rested inside her den. The newborn cubs, who were described by state troopers as “shrieking” at the time the incident happened, were killed by Andrew Renner, who then disposed of the animals’ bodies outside the den two days later, and presented the mother bear’s skin and GPS collar to ADF&G on April 30 as he reported the killing. The elder Renner, however, allegedly added that he did not see any cubs at the time he killed the sow.
Court documents cited by CNN quoted remarks made by Andrew and Owen Renner in the video as they removed the mother black bear’s tracking collar. In response to his father, who said that it “doesn’t matter” that they killed the bears, Owen reportedly said that authorities will “never be able” to link them to the killing.
Both Andrew and Owen Renner were charged with the unlawful taking, or killing, of a female bear with cubs; the unlawful taking of bear cubs; and possessing and transporting illegally taken game. Andrew Renner was additionally charged with tampering with physical evidence and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. An attorney for the elder Renner refused to comment on the case aside from confirming that he wasn’t also representing his son, as further noted by CNN.