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Six garbage-habituated bears killed on Thanksgiving weekend near West Kelowna

The B.C. Conservation Service says the bear killings were preventable had a local business better managed its garbage.
The B.C. Conservation Service says the bear killings were preventable had a local business better managed its garbage. B.C. Conservation Service

An Okanagan business is being held responsible for garbage that was left improperly stored, leading to the death of six bears over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the B.C. Conservation Service.

“It was an unpleasant and unfortunate ending,” Sgt. Jeff Hanratty, a Kelowna conservation officer, said of being forced to kill the six garbage-habituated bears over the long weekend.

While Hanratty would not name the business involved, he said it was located on Westside Road, north of West Kelowna.

Another view of the spread-out garbage.
Another view of the spread-out garbage. B.C. Conservation Service

READ MORE: Cubs orphaned after mother bear illegally shot and killed in B.C. Interior

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“The bears were food conditioned and their behaviour showed significant risk to the public,” Hanratty said.

The so-far unidentified business has been issued a ticket for leaving bear attractants, he said, adding the business has 30 days to pay the $230 fine or dispute the charge.

Global News has reached out to Lake Okanagan Resort, the alleged offender, to inquire about the garbage and bear issue.

Wildsafe BC warning residents to be bear aware with waste
Wildsafe BC warning residents to be bear aware with waste

The B.C. Conservation Service also issued two dangerous wildlife protection orders, which relate to behaviour that “attracts dangerous wildlife to land or premise” as well as “leaving attractants in accessible or reasonably accessible” areas.

The garbage compactor.
The garbage compactor. B.C. Conservation Service

Several concerned calls about the garbage and habituated bears were made to the RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) Program, according to Hanratty.

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“A witness was charged twice,” he said, adding others complained of bears banging on windows and climbing onto the decks of their homes.

Black bear chases three B.C. mountain bikers on Mount Seymour trail
Black bear chases three B.C. mountain bikers on Mount Seymour trail

The business in question had an open garbage dumpster and garbage compactor, he said.

“The B.C. Conservation Service has embarked on a bear attractant audit province wide,” Hanratty said, adding that they will continue issuing further orders and fines for residential or commercial garbage left outdoors around B.C.

Hanratty said having to destroy bears, as happened in this case, was a preventable event had the business better managed its garbage.

Man finds two bear cubs trapped in his van after they honk horn
Man finds two bear cubs trapped in his van after they honk horn