Several weeks after the death of a bear caused an outcry on social media, the conservation office is warning that more trouble may be coming if residents don’t get their act together.
Conservation Officer Dave Webster is warning residents of repeated sightings and complaints about a bear family roaming the residential corridors on both sides of Central Avenue into downtown. The family has two or three adults and two cubs, Webster said, and are being attracted into downtown by repeat issues with garbage. Over the past week the bears have become more and more of an issue, coming into town more often, during daylight, and into populated areas.
If something doesn’t change soon, Webster is warning that the bears may have to be put down. “The community has to take responsibility for these animals being completely habituated to this food source, and we’re going to have to make the hard choice in the next couple weeks whether to put these animals down,” he said.
Webster said that at this point, leaving your garbage out is simply unacceptable when it is putting wildlife at risk. Snapping a lid on your garbage bin is also insufficient, he said: garbage needs to be locked up in a shed or garage to truly be bear-safe.
Webster said he will also be starting to hand out tickets under the BC Wildlife Act attracting wildlife to land when he sees composting and trash out the night before pickup. Webster hopes the cost, a steep $230 per ticket, will be a powerful deterrent.
“There was a lot of public outcry over the bear that was put down downtown,” Webster said. “This community is obviously very emotional when bears are put down, but if even a small portion of that emotion was channelled into action … there would not be that problem in the first place.”