What appears to have been an orphaned black bear cub has met a sad end in the Priddis area, just southwest of Calgary.
It started on a cattle ranch on Thursday, Oct 1.
“I came out with my coffee in the morning, and there was this bear cub sitting on our front porch,” rancher Jim Coleman said. “This little guy, it looked like he hadn’t been eating, so we put out some apples for him.”
The cub made himself right at home.
“He was eating apples in the apple tree right adjacent to our front door, wandering around, not really bothering anyone,” Coleman said.
The young bear remained around the property through Friday with no sign of a mother bear, so Coleman figured he’d better call in a conservation officer.
“He said the bear cub wouldn’t survive the winter, and he was going to put him down,” Coleman said, “and that appalled me.”
A statement emailed to Global News by Alberta Fish and Wildlife says the “difficult decision” to shoot the bear was made because it was “very skinny and did not appear to be healthy.”
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The statement says the bear had “little chance of recovery” and was potentially dangerous to people in the area.
“Sometimes when we think we’re being helpful, we are actually being harmful,” wildlife biologist Sarah Elmeligi said. “It’s very important to never feed bears; it never ends well for bears.”
There are steps rural residents can take to reduce the risks of bear encounters.
“Putting horse feed inside some kind of hard-sided structure that a bear can’t get into,” Elmeligi said. “It could involve putting electric fences around chicken coops, so that bears keep going on their merry way and find food elsewhere.”
Coleman says there could have been a better outcome for the bear.
“I think the bear should’ve been trapped and relocated,” Coleman said. “I won’t allow conservation officers onto my property again with guns. I would probably try to run the bear off myself.”