Public being urged to manage wildlife attracts after bear is put down in Kelowna

A black bear that was habituated to garbage had to be put down in Kelowna last Wednesday.
A black bear that was habituated to garbage had to be put down in Kelowna last Wednesday. File photo / Global News

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) is pleading with the public to manage garbage and other wildlife attracts around their property after a black bear had to be euthanized in Kelowna.

The male adult bear was put down last Wednesday near a school on Dell Road in the city’s Rutland area.

According to the COS, the bear had become highly human habituated and garbage-conditioned, which created a threat to public safety.

Read more: ‘They killed them all’: British Columbia chicken coop raided by black bears

The COS said that so far in the month of May, it has received 60 reports of bears accessing unprotected garbage in Kelowna alone.

Those reports included bears breaking into a home and a vehicle to access food.

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The COS said it is “very frustrating” responding to those types of calls given the fact there has been so much education around bear safety and attractant management.

Click to play video: 'North Vancouver bear attack' North Vancouver bear attack
North Vancouver bear attack – May 22, 2021

It added that disregarding the messaging and continuing to allow bears to access unprotected, non-natural attractants increases the chance of bears having to be destroyed.

In B.C., it is an offence to feed or leave attractants available to dangerous wildlife, such as bears, cougars, wolf and coyotes.

According to the COS, relocation does not work with human habituated and food conditioned bears.

Read more: Wayward bear tranquilized after nearly wandering into downtown Vancouver

The COS said that when relocated,, bears often return to their original home territory or become “problem” animals in other communities.

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It added that translocated wildlife often fail to adapt to their new habitat and may starve to death or be killed by the animals that already occupy the area.

The COS said that Kelowna conservation officers along with the West Kelowna Wildsafe B.C. Coordinator will be conducting bear attractant audits within the City of Kelowna and the Central Okanagan Regional District to enforce the Wildlife Act to help prevent human-wildlife conflicts and the destruction of more bears.

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Be bear aware: Staying safe in bear country – May 20, 2021

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