Habituated bears reportedly meet sad end

Habituated bears reportedly meet sad end | TimesChronicle.ca

Habituated bears reportedly meet sad end

Posted by Lyonel Doherty | Apr 23, 2021 | FeaturedNews | A bear trap is set up on a property north of Oliver, where a couple of bruins have been sighted recently.

Lyonel Doherty


Two bears north of Oliver reportedly had to be put down because they had become habituated to humans, and the smorgasbord of food available to them.

According to a report by Castanet News, two problem black bears were recently put down by conservation officers. It was also reported that violation tickets were issued relating to attractants on properties.

The Times-Chronicle reached out to the local conservation office for comment but did not get a response.

Last week the Times-Chronicle reported that a bear broke into two outdoor refrigerators, one in Deer Park Estates and another in Country Pines Mobile Home Park.

Deer Park Estates resident Don Smithyman said he no longer reports bears to conservation because the bruins only end up being put down.

He removed his fridge from his deck after a bear raided it recently.

It’s getting too dangerous,” he said.

A sign on his fridge reads: “2nd bear visit. Free fridge . . . works good.”

While Smithyman argues that problem bears should be relocated in the mountains, the conservation service says the bears are already habituated at that point and will either be killed by other bears or find their way back to civilization in search of human food.

A bear leaves a porch after raiding a fridge at Country Pines Mobile Home Park.
(Photo by Annie Zandvliet)

But Annie Zandvliet from Country Pines said that habituated bears should be relocated instead of killed.

Last week she had a bear break into her outdoor fridge and eat a bucket of ice cream.

“I love them (bears). We are in their space, right? Even though I am scared that he is coming back.”

However, one member of the Anarchist Mountain Bear Group said a lot of negative bear behaviour is human caused.

“I hope that this unfortunate situation with Oliver bears will prove as a means for people to put away attractants and understand how to live with wildlife,” said Brenda Arychuk.

She noted that having an outdoor fridge or freezer is a big “no-no.” She said even bird feeders, pet food and dirty barbecues can attract bears that “can smell things a kilometre away.”

Arychuk noted that once bears become habituated to human food, the saying is true: “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

She said that habituated bears cannot be successfully relocated because they try to come back, and other bears may kill them when they encroach on a new territory.

Arychuk said people can prevent all of this if they ensure their garbage is secured and no attractants are left out. She noted that once a mama bear learns to eat human food, she teaches her cubs this.

“I have been reading the bear issues in Oliver. Sadly, I could see what would happen. Now the public is blaming conservation officers.”

For more information about bears on your property, visit https://www.rdos.bc.ca/public-works/wildsafe-bc-bear-aware/bears-on-your-property/