Responding to a complaint about a nuisance bear on South Green Lake Road earlier this month, 100 Mile House Conservation Officer (CO) Colin Kravontka set up a live bear trap in the neighborhood and the bear was locked in the cage within a couple of hours.
The young bear had been wandering around the far end of the lake for a few months with a sow, but it started prowling around by itself looking for food for about a month before being trapped.
The resident, who called the Conservation Officer Services, notes the bear was getting “a little too brave,” as it was visiting homes in search of food – going through gardens and composters, looking for garbage and knocking over barbecues.
When the bear got inside of a friend’s car and ripped open a bag of garbage and laundry, they decided the bear was getting too aggressive and the call was made.
After being trapped, the bear was taken away and dispatched.
COs don’t try to relocate bears any more for a couple of reasons, Kravontka says, adding they just find their way back to the area where they were trapped.
“Once a bear becomes habituated to fruit trees, pet food, compost and bird feeders and getting their source of food from there, you can’t get them off it, and even if you relocate them, they’ll keep coming back.”
He notes they have so many bears in the area, COs have no where to put any relocated bears.
“If we put a small bear in anywhere, it’s either going to get killed or pushed out [of the area]. If we put a big bear in, it’s either going to push another bear out or kill whatever’s there. They are territorial that way.”
Kravontka says the real story is people need to start managing their attractants … it’s a problem in all of the outlying areas.
“Because these bears have accessed garbage and fruit…. Until people start removing these attractants, the bears are going to keep coming back and they will be dispatched.
“People not removing these attractants are killing these bears.”
Noting it’s late in the season, he explains the bears are serious about getting fat stored up for hibernation and they are very protective about their food sources, so they are going to get aggressive.
“It’s very important [to remove attractants]. It’s the same message we keep putting out to the media outlets and to people, but they don’t seem to hear it or understand it or want to heed it.
They can’t grasp the concept that a fed bear is a dead bear, Kravontka says.
“There’s transfer sites out there they can take their garbage; they can lock it up and secure it; remove their bird feeders; keep their pet foods inside; watch what they throw in their compost; and remove their fruit off the trees and ground.
“So it’s all about people managing what they’ve got out there, but people are very lax. Some people enjoy having bears wandering around and it’s great when they’re doing their natural thing, but as soon as they start showing up on their decks to get at their groceries or pet food, then they’re not very keen about having them there.”
Kravontka says COs don’t want to start ticketing people for leaving out attractants, but he has done it in the past.
“We get calls from people about bears being in their garbage for the third time that week, or this is the third time they have been getting in their fruit, and then they want us to come out and get them.
“Well, it’s sad, and they have already taught those bears bad habits.”