Skip to content

Editorial: Shooting orphaned bear cubs? The province must reconsider

The District of North Vancouver motion deserves careful thought
An orphaned black bear cub at the Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley. | Courtesy of the North Shore Black Bear Society

It’s hard to look at an orphaned bear cub and see a threat that needs to be eliminated. That is the spirit behind a motion from District of North Vancouver council, calling for change in the way the B.C. Conservation Officer Service is governed and how they deal with orphaned cubs. A record number of bears were killed in B.C. in 2023.

The motion has the support of Pacific Wild and the North Shore Black Bear Society, which does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to public education and advocacy.

We suspect the province will demur and cite a lack of resources, but we welcome council’s motion and ask the province to give it serious consideration.

But if conservation officers are deciding whether or not to shoot an orphaned cub, it is, in many ways, too late. If the mother was shot for unacceptable behaviour, we, collectively, have already failed that family of bears. The vast majority of the time, it is our garbage that lured them into trouble.

Officially, the district has a zero-tolerance policy for people violating its garbage bylaw, with $100 fines for the first offence. Those fines climb higher with subsequent offences, but the vast majority only need to get dinged once before they get the message.

Some on council find the penalty too harsh but we would argue this approach should be the norm in wilderburbs across the province.

Living so close to nature is a tremendous privilege that carries with it a responsibility to protect species that do not have a voice.

What are your thoughts? Send us a letter via email by clicking here or post a comment below.