American hunter Josh Bowmar who speared bear in Canada and let it die slowly may face charges

A video shows 26-year-old Josh Bowmar cheering after he had made the kill

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The Independent US

The man who slayed a black bear with a spear in Alberta, Canada, may face charges following a huge backlash from animal rights campaigners.

Josh Bowmar, a former javelin thrower from Ohio, lured the animal with bait into a clearing and then stabbed it, leaving the bear to bleed to death. He was seen in the video, which he uploaded to YouTube in June, cheering and even crying as he celebrated his kill.

Alberta Environment Ministry spokesman Kyle Ferguson said the agency had asked Fish and Wildlife officers to investigate whether the 26-year-old big game hunter should be charged under current laws. 

Spear hunting is legal in Alberta, but not in Ontario, the most populous region of the country.

The ministry told CBC that using a spear was "archaic hunting" and "unacceptable".

"We will introduce a ban on spear hunting this fall," Mr Ferguson said.

A petition from Care2, demanding the YouTube video of the killing be taken down and Mr Bowmar’s account suspended, has gathered close to 50,000 signatures.

Bear speared and killed

In the video, Mr Bowmar says to the camera: "I drilled him perfect. That was the longest throw I ever thought I could ever make."

The petition author, Jennifer Johnson, said the video was a "disturbing celebration of animal cruelty" and that using a spear can leave a bear "suffering for up to 20 hours" before it dies.

"It's currently legal to hunt black bears with spears in Canada. But Bowmar should not be given the satisfaction of bragging about the cruel means by which he killed this animal, and encouraging this behavior from other people," Ms Johnson wrote.

The incident follows the backlash against American dentist Walter Palmer who killed Cecil the lion during a hunting trip in Africa, and the shooting of Harambe the gorilla after a young boy fell into his zoo enclosure.

Mr Bowmar said he has faced hundreds of death threats and has shied away from social media. He added that a spear was more "humane" than using a bow.

"It's extremely frustrating to me," he told the Associated Press. "I didn't do anything illegal. The bear died very humanely. The truth is I honestly care more about animals and hunting than anybody could."