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Following death of B.C. bear, video shows residents continuing to leave garbage out early

Click to play video: 'Deep Cove residents leave garbage out the night before collection' Deep Cove residents leave garbage out the night before collection
WATCH: Following the death of a well-known black bear in Deep Cove who was attracted to garbage, Global News sent a camera to the area the night before garbage pick-up and found that even though residents are not supposed to, many were putting their garbage out the night before. And many bins were not even locked – Aug 12, 2020

It appears some B.C. residents are still not getting the message about being bear aware in their neighbourhoods.

This month, garbage pickup is on Wednesday morning in some areas of North Vancouver. According to the District of North Vancouver, it is in contravention of the District’s Solid Waste Removal Bylaw to set out carts before the morning of collection day. Many of them were not locked.

Residents can put out their waste for collection between 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and not before.

However, when Global News sent a camera to parts of the North Shore Tuesday evening, many garbage cans were already placed at the ends of driveways.

Read more: Video shows B.C. conservation officers freeing coyote with jar on its head

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The North Shore Black Bear Society says Deep Cove is a hotspot for wildlife activity right now but they’re seeing many residents not complying with the Solid Waste Removal Bylaw and leaving waste out overnight, which increases the chance of bears coming into residential areas.

“When residents leave food sources available to bears overnight it’s very difficult for people to safely move on the bear from the garbage cart,” Luci Cadman with the Black Bear Society told Global News.

“Bears that are reported to be eating garbage, fruit trees, bird seed, food scraps, are labelled as food conditioned. Those bears are almost always killed.”

The issue of leaving garbage out early comes after a well-known black bear was killed by Conservation Officers after it was seen eating from the garbage and organics carts.

Click to play video: 'North Shore black bear killed after residents left food out to take videos' North Shore black bear killed after residents left food out to take videos
North Shore black bear killed after residents left food out to take videos – Aug 9, 2020

The society says this was a death sentence for Huckleberry the bear because some residents admitted they allowed the bear to eat from the garbage so they could take photos and videos.

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“On the last day that we saw him, on the 31st of July, a resident had gone on vacation and left their organics cart unlocked and full of food,” Cadman said.

“We only found Huckleberry that day after we saw people running down the street with their cameras to take a photograph. We’d found about 30 residents on that street who had come out to take a photograph of him eating from that garbage cart.”

Later that day, the society says he was tranquilized by conservation officers and taken away to be euthanized.

“There’s lots of people there that have videos of bears eating from garbage cans and bird feeders and that seems to be the priority for most people, to get a video or a photograph,” Cadman added, “rather than helping the bear by moving them on from a safe place.”

Read more: B.C. black bear killed after residents admit they left food out so they could take videos

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.

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 North Shore Black Bear Society said in a Facebook post on Aug. 5.

“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.”

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The District of North Vancouver says bylaw officers do patrol neighbourhoods to make sure the carts and containers are not set outside early.

“The first (offence) results in a warning letter issued to the homeowner, and any following (offences) result in a $100 ticket,” the district said in a statement.

“Residents need to be aware that when they place carts out the night before collection it’s an open invitation for bears to enter the neighbourhood and search for food, putting them at undue risk.”

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