Conservation officers have killed the first bear of the season on the North Shore after it became badly habituated to humans and their garbage.
The officers were called to Riverside Drive on Monday after a sow and two cubs that had been spotted munching on attractants in Blueridge yards several times over the last few weeks showed up in search of an easy meal on garbage day.
The sow showed “zero fear” of humans, including a garbage truck driver who laid on the horn right in front of it, said conservation officer Lonnie Schoenthal.
“The garbage truck has very loud, very large horns and she just sat there eating the garbage,” Schoenthal said.
Normally, a bear in that situation would want to move on or protect its cubs, Schoenthal added.
“This particular sow did not do either of those and just continued to try and access garbage cans directly in front of me,” he said. “As a result of her actions, I made the decision the sow needs to be dispatched. She was at a high level of food conditioning and habituation.”
The cubs, however, did not appear to be habituated and were taken to the Critter Care Wildlife Society’s rehab facility in Langley.
“Both cubs are settling in ok. They were seen by a vet last night. The little female had to get a couple of sutures but they are otherwise in good health,” said Angela Fontana, senior animal care supervisor at Critter Care
Some neighbours in the Blueridge Area have been fundraising to help cover the costs of caring for the cubs. Donation can be made to Critter Care at crittercarewildlife.org
North Shore residents should be keeping their yards free of attractants, including bird feeders, dirty garbage or compose bins, barbecues, tree fruit and pet food, Schoenthal said.
The Ministry of Environment asks residents who spot bears getting cozy around human settlement to report them to the province’s hotline 1-877-952-7277. But Schoenthal added, so too should people call and report any attractants left out, so conservation officers can come speak with negligent property owners.