Aggressive bear put down in Summerland neighbourhood

Residents urged to manage garbage and other bear attractants

Conservation officers are urging Summerland residents to manage their garbage and other bear attractants after a bear in the community was put down in late May. (Black Press file photo)

Conservation officers are urging Summerland residents to manage their garbage and other bear attractants after a bear in the community was put down in late May. (Black Press file photo)

Conservation officers put down an aggressive bear which had been spotted in several Summerland locations including Pollock Terrace, Pierre Drive and Palmer Place in late May.

James Zucchelli of the provincial conservation officer service said the bear had been seen on multiple occasions on the streets and in yards. The bear had been searching for garbage containers and had entered yards where people were outside. At one point, the bear charged at a conservation officer.

“It was bold daytime activity, in the middle of the afternoon,” Zucchelli said. “It was a highly agitated situation that didn’t need to get that far.”

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Zucchelli said bears have been observed in Summerland in the past, but attractants such as garbage, bird feeders and compost will result in an increase in bear activity in an area.

He added that this bear had been conditioned to seek out garbage and no longer showed fear of people.

This is not the first time conservation officers have put down bears in Summerland. Zucchelli said preventative measures would result in fewer bear complaints. These include keeping garbage inside or in the garage until the morning it is picked up, removing food attractants such as windfall fruit from back yards and managing compost bins to reduce odours.

Garbage has been an ongoing concern for conservation officers, as some Summerland residents will set out their garbage the night before rather than the morning of their garbage collection days.

A year ago, in the spring of 2020, conservation officers began issuing tickets to those who had set out their garbage early. Those violation tickets were $345 each and were issued in an effort to change behaviours.

Zucchelli said bears in urban areas is not unique to Summerland. However, in Naramata, where bear encounters were once far more frequent, the community has taken measures to keep bear attractants away. The efforts have resulted in a drop in the number of bear encounters. He said in the past five years, three bears have been removed in that community. In past years, the number was much higher.

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