FILE – Black bears who get into people’s trash can be dangerous, conservation officers warn. (Black Press Media files)

Coquitlam mayor ‘heartbroken,’ but says not to ‘vilify’ COS after death of bear family

Three bears euthanized after getting habituated

The mayor of Coquitlam is “heartbroken” and frustrated, after a mother bear and her two cubs were euthanized Tuesday.

B.C.’s Conservation Officer Service told Black Press Media earlier this week that the sow and seven-month-old cubs were euthanized because they were no longer fearful of humans and were habituated to human garbage.

In a social media post Sunday, Mayor Richard Stewart said this bear family had been an ongoing issue for his city that could have been prevented if people reported bear sightings to conservation officers, instead of posting videos on Facebook.

“It appears there was an opportunity to get that family of bears back into Mundy Park or back into the ravines to forage for natural food (blackberries are currently in abundance),” Stewart wrote.

:But those who vilify COS and instead post cute bear videos ended up wasting that opportunity, and unwittingly signed the death sentence for a beautiful sow and her two playful cubs.”

Stewart said the city first heard about the concerns over a bear family in Chineside in May.

Over the following weeks, Stewart said, conservation officers tried to trap and relocate the bears who had “formed a routine of visiting these particular homes.”

Steward said that over the following weeks and months, the city sent out literature on how to avoid bear-human conflicts to 600 homes in the Chineside area of Coquitlam and increased nighttime patrols for early garbage set-out.

However, by early July there had been three bear-human interactions in Mundy Park. Conservation officers set a trap in the area, and banned food from the park.

Conservation officers saw and chased the bears again on July 24, but were unable to catch them.

On July 26, Stewart said the bears entered a home in the area, showing conservation officers “the bears could not be safely relocated, as they were too acclimated to human garbage and had no fear of humans.”

On July 30, all three bears were killed.

Three people were arrested for interfering with the conservation officers’ work and are facing charges under theWildlife Act.

READ MORE: B.C. Conservation Service defends three arrests as officers shoot problem bears

Stewart said while he understood why the people were upset about the bears being killed, the conservation officers had no choice but to euthanize the bears.

“I’m heartbroken that these bears are being killed,” he said.

“But please don’t blame COS, who really have no choice once a bear is habituated to human garbage and shows no fear of humans.”

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service recommends securing all trash, picking fruit on the property and reporting all bear encounters to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Sicamous Eagles defeat Summerland Steam in overtime decision

Junior B hockey teams faced off in Summerland on Dec. 5

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen directors to receive pay increase

Increase of 11.9 per cent to offset changes to taxation for elected officials

COLUMN: Light holiday movies, filmed here in B.C.

How is it possible to come up with so many holiday-themed movie scripts each year?

COLUMN: Okanagan will be well represented with MPs in critic roles

As critics, it is part of our job to hold the government to account

LETTER: Not all can afford private health insurance

The private insurance industry is not in the business of covering those with high needs

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

Weak link in Sagmoen trial, defence says

Counsel questions whether search warrant police executed was obtained on reasonable grounds

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

North Okanagan MP says throne speech lacked specifics

‘Trudeau government presented a vague agenda,’: MP Mel Arnold

‘She was awesome’: Malakwa baker leaves U.S. holiday show

‘There are Christmas miracles, look at me’

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Independent Investigations Office seeks witnesses following arrest in Penticton

The male resisted arrest at approximately 8:40 a.m. and sustained a head injury

Most Read