The B.C. Conservation Officer Service is asking for the public's help in identifying who dumped animal parts, including "several bear parts" on a dirt road above the rural town of Anglemont on Shuswap Lake.
In a tweet, BCCOS said officers had attended the scene on Forest Service Road 695 and collected evidence.
On Sunday, local Brandi Hansen discovered what she described as 80 severed bear paws scattered on the road and in a culvert.
The experienced hunter said the paws looked like they were from adults and cubs and had all been declawed.
Deer remains were also found at the scene, according to Chase RCMP detachment Commander Sgt. Barry Kennedy. He said police are not involved in the investigation.
A councillor with the Shuswap Indian Band said the dumped bear paws point to possible poaching and illegal activity.
"It supports the thought of [bear parts] being put on the black market and sales to probably overseas markets," Mark Thomas said. "It makes me very angry that someone would do that to an animal for personal gain. It's just totally wrong."
Possessing and selling bear parts is illegal in B.C.
Bear parts, especially gall bladders, paws and genitals are trafficked on the black market and can sell for thousands of dollars abroad for their alleged medicinal properties.
In 2016, Coquitlam acupuncturist Yunhee (Sarah) Kim pleaded guilty to trafficking in bear gall bladders, bear paws and deer meat after being caught in an undercover sting operation.
She was fined $22,400.
Thomas said it will be difficult for authorities to track down whoever is behind the bear paw dump.
"I hope people are brought to task for what they've done and understand the implication, not only from an ecological stance but from a traditional stance," he said.
"We are supposed to take care of those who can't speak for themselves and definitely brother bear is on that list. I feel very sorry for him today."
Anyone with information is asked to report it on the BCCOS RAPP hotline (report all poachers and polluters) at 1 877 952-7277.