BC Conservation Officer Service members are recommending the Crown lay charges against a West Vancouver man for deliberately feeding bears and coyotes in a public park.
The person is entitled to the presumption of innocence and a fair hearing in court, which we look forward to.
As we saw in Stanley Park last year, coyotes that had been fed by humans became highly aggressive, resulting in several injuries to people and, eventually, a cull of coyotes. Thankfully, cases of people being harmed by bears are extremely rare, although they do happen. More worrying is what happens to the bears once we change their behaviour through our own ignorant actions.
Nine bears were killed on the North Shore last year – seven of them shot by conservation officers after they became too accustomed to finding easy food sources in residential yards.
A far greater threat to bears than one person deliberately feeding them, is a handful of us being sloppy around the neighbourhood. We absolutely can do better.
The North Shore Black Bear Society goes to tremendous efforts every year to educate the public on how to responsibly coexist with bruins: Keep your yard spotless of any attractants like garbage and bird feeders, freeze your smelliest organics before putting them out for collection, etc.
The District of North Vancouver now slaps anyone who flouts the garbage bylaw with an automatic $100 fine. It’s now time for the District of West Vancouver to do the same.
Living among such natural splendour and wildlife is a tremendous privilege. If we truly recognize and appreciate this, we’ll do everything in our power to keep it that way.