U.S. hunter guilty of killing rare Manitoba grizzly bear

A South Carolina man has been found guilty of illegally killing a grizzly bear while hunting in Manitoba.

The province's Sustainable Development Department said the U.S. citizen was ordered Wednesday to pay $10,000 in fines plus $2,000 in court costs.

The grizzly bear was killed in June 2015 in northern Manitoba. DNA testing later confirmed the bear was a grizzly, an animal protected under Manitoba's Endangered Species and Ecosystems Act.

Conservation investigators were tipped off about the grizzly killing by a member of the public, Sustainable Development said.

Until the late 1800s, grizzly bears roamed across the Prairies, including in Manitoba's Red River Valley.

The animals have long been considered extinct in the province, but officials say they are slowly making a return in the northern region of the province.

Researchers in Manitoba's Wapusk National Park have observed grizzlies entering into traditional polar bear habitat.

Parks Canada estimates about 20,000 grizzly bears remain in western Alberta, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and British Columbia.