A mother bear and her three cubs, who were roaming a residential area of Princeton, were destroyed by conservation officers Saturday morning, Nov. 14.
“Dispatching an animal that is habituated to non-natural food sources is not an easy thing to do,” said Tyler Kerr, from conversation services in Merritt.
While Kerr was not present, he said an officer was forced to shoot at least one of the bears on the scene.
According to Kerr the officer had established a trap, following a complaint that a bear had severely damaged a shed in the area while trying to access food.
He described that behaviour as a serious threat to public safety.
However, the service was not made aware there were other bears in the area.
At least one cub entered the trap, creating a “volatile” situation, said Kerr.
“Think about getting between a mother and child. [Those circumstances] “are extremely fluid.”
Relocating bears conditioned to urban food sources is not successful, Kerr explained.
In some cases the animals are not able to forage for themselves and they starve. They will also travel great distances to return to familiar territory.
The Town of Princeton has evoked several initiatives to deal with its bear population. It recently invested $30,000 in bear proof garbage containers on public lands. Last year it passed a new wildlife attractant bylaw with stiff fines attached for non-compliance, and it annually contracts a B.C. Wildsafe co-ordinator whose role is to educate the public.
Kerr said the ultimate responsibility for incidents like the one that occurred Saturday falls on residents who fail to follow protocols that will discourage wildlife. Those include removing fruit from trees and bushes, and the ground, as well as locking up garbage. It also means reporting urban wildlife to the Report All Poaches and Polluters (RAPP) line, and reporting offenders who flaunt safety measures.
“This is something the community needs to do.”
The RAPP hotline is 1-877-952-RAPP.
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