Bad news for bears in recent North Shore conflicts

A recent rash of human/bear conflicts on the North Shore have turned out to be bad news for the bears.

Conservation officers and wildlife advocates have pointed to several recent incidents that didn’t end well for the bruins.

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On Friday, conservation officers shot a young bear that had been hanging around garbage and organics carts in residential areas near Deep Cove in North Vancouver.

Inspector Murray Smith with the BC Conservation Officer Service said there had been multiple reports of the bear getting into garbage containers over a period of time, calling the bear “food conditioned.”

Luci Cadman of the North Shore Black Bear Society said the bear was first spotted in the neighbourhood at the beginning of July, but didn’t become a problem until people made it one by not dealing with their garbage properly and chasing the bear for video clips.

Cadman said when she got to the area on July 31, the bear was being followed by residents trying to film it with their cell phones.

Smith said in that case, conservation officers ticketed the homeowner who had left their garbage unsecured.

On July 24, another bear – this time an adult sow – was also destroyed in West Vancouver following an incident in which a bear cub became tangled in a soccer net on private property in the 4600 block of Woodgreen Drive.

Smith said the incident happened at around 10 p.m. As two conservation officers tried to free the cub, the mother bear charged one of them, who fired a beanbag at it. The beanbag hit the bear in the face. Both cubs were eventually tranquilized and put in a live trap together for the night. But the next morning, the mother bear was still only able to move her head, said Smith.

“So something happened when she got shot. It was a very unfortunate situation,” he said.

The mother bear was euthanized and the two cubs were taken to Critter Care wildlife rehabilitation centre.

Critter Care bear cubs
Two West Vancouver bear cubs were recently taken to Critter Care wildlife rehabilitation after their mother was shot. photo NSBBS

Smith said it’s not that uncommon for wild animals to get tangled up in things they shouldn’t. This week, conservation officers rescued a coyote in Maple Ridge that had a glass jar stuck on its head. Smith said he’s seen animals with tin cans on their feet and a deer with a tomato cage on its head.

Bears have also been attracted to residential properties in West Vancouver recently.

Smith said conservation officers were called out twice to situations there on July 31.

In one case, a homeowner was issued a dangerous wildlife protection order and told to pick the ripe plums that had been attracting bears to their property. Non-compliance with the order can result in a $575 fine.

In another case, on July 31 police called conservation officers after a resident reported a bear had entered a home through an open rear door to gain access to a kitchen in a residence in the 2300 block of Orchard Lane in West Vancouver.

Smith said there have been almost 500 bear calls so far this year in North Vancouver and about 230 bear calls in West Vancouver. Almost 100 of those calls have come in in the past 10 days, he said.

Five bears have been destroyed by conservation officers on the North Shore this year, while three have been relocated.

Conservation officers still have not captured the bear that bit a 10-year-old girl on a trail near Rice Lake on July 24.

Multiple reports of bears have come in from the public since the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve and Lynn Headwaters Regional Park reopened, said Smith, but “we know it’s not the same bear.”


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