Whistler woman handed $60,000 in fines for regularly feeding bears

Click to play video: 'Whistler woman handed $60,000 in fines for regularly feeding bears'
Whistler woman handed $60,000 in fines for regularly feeding bears
WATCH: The North Shore Black Bear Society says an alarming number of bears have been killed by conservation officers this year. And they're calling on both people and the Conservation Officer service to find better ways of co-existing with bears, in order to save their lives. Paul Johnson reports – Oct 2, 2021

A Whistler woman has been handed $60,000 in fines for feeding bears, in what the B.C. Conservation Officer Service calls a “potentially precedent-setting case.”

The service says the fines, related to incidents in 2018, are the highest overall penalty imposed under the B.C. Wildlife Act.

Read more: Accused Whistler bear feeders face up to $100K fine, 1 year in prison if convicted

Zuzana Stevikova received the sentence in North Vancouver provincial court earlier this week.

Conservation officers launched an investigation in July 2018, after a tip someone in Whistler’s Kadenwood neighbourhood was feeding black bears.

Click to play video: 'Curious black bear captured playing on Port Coquitlam swing'
Curious black bear captured playing on Port Coquitlam swing

Investigators determined she had been feeding bears throughout the summer, buying bulk produce with “up to 10 cases of apples, 50 pounds of carrots and up to 15 dozen eggs” on a weekly basis.

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“These activities created an extraordinary public safety risk by conditioning bears to human food and presence,” the service said.

“In Sept. 2018, Conservation Officers were forced to put down three bears that were repeatedly visiting the area, causing property damage, and exhibiting highly habituated behaviour showing no fear of people.”

Read more: West Vancouver man charged over bear-feeding caught on video

Once bears are conditioned to human food, the service said, they usually cannot be relocated or rehabilitated, and become a serious risk to the public.

A second person, Oliver Dugan, was initially charged along with Stevikova. However, court records indicate a Crown-initiated stay of proceedings on his file.

Under the B.C. Wildlife Act, anyone convicted of feeding bears faces a fine of up to $100,000, up to one year in prison, or both.

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