A B.C. black bear who was well-known to residents on the North Shore has now been killed by Conservation Officers.
The North Shore Black Bear Society says humans are to blame.
The society has been tracking the progress of the bear, named Huckleberry due to his penchant for the fruit, since July 2.
They said the bear was often seen in the Deep Cove area on the North Shore but was always easy to move on and society staff often walked Huckleberry back into the forest.
“We met you many times and often you would roll your tongue out at us to smell the air as we walked together back to the forest. We knew you remembered us,” the society wrote in a Facebook post.
However, reports started coming in about Huckleberry eating from the garbage and organics carts.
“People admitted they allowed you to do that for a video and they neglected to move you on… a death sentence,” the society said.
“If only people had used a firm voice with you, you would have listened. Or respected you enough to not have any garbage or food scraps accessible in the first place. We did you a disservice, Huckleberry.”
July 31 was the last time staff saw the curious bear. They had received a report that it had been seen eating berries on the edge of the forest but by the time they arrived the bear was being followed by people all trying to take a video.
Staff determined it wasn’t safe to try and move the bear on themselves due to the crowd of people.
They say Huckleberry did eventually move on peacefully on his own but that was the last time they saw him.
Later that day, the society says he was tranquilized by Conservation Officers and taken away to be euthanized.
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The Conservation Service has long said destroying bears is reserved for bears that become conditioned to human food, adding non-lethal solutions often don’t change animal behaviour.
Just recently, a bear bit a 10-year-old girl in North Vancouver’s Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, and officers believe that bear was habituated to humans.
That bear has still not been found.
But Huckleberry was too habituated to humans and human food and had to be euthanized, according to the Conservation Service.
“You were willing to coexist, but people were not,” the society said in the post.
“You showed us every time we met that you were a good-natured bear, we are deeply sorry that we couldn’t save you. We’ll always have a place in our hearts for you, sweet boy.”