September 23, 2016 - 4:29 PM
KAMLOOPS - As many as three bears have been killed in the Rayleigh neighbourhood of Kamloops after becoming accustomed to human food, just a short time before they're supposed to hibernate.
Conservation officer Kevin Van Damme says he's not sure how many bears were put down in Rayleigh yesterday, Sept. 22, or the specific details surrounding their deaths, but social media reports indicate a mother and her two cubs were shot and killed.
At this time of year, Damme says bears are trying to eat as much high-energy food as they can so they can survive the winter.
"Bears are feeding around the clock throughout the day and night," Van Damme says, adding bears can become aggressive while searching for food.
It means bears are strolling through neighbourhoods and looking for anything they can grab a bite off.
Just last week, B.C. Conservation Office warned residents in Kamloops's Juniper Ridge community to take care of their fruit trees and bring their garbages inside.
In an interview with iNFOnews.ca last week, conservation officer Jim Metenka warned people to be bear-aware and responsible with their garbages. Metenka said destroying a bear is a last resort for conservation officers.
Van Damme says when bears become accustomed to human presence and food, they're more likely to be destroyed. After conservation officers put the animal down, they transport the carcass to the wild.
"Because these animals have been feeding on garbage… these animals are put back into remote locations in the wilderness for other wildlife to feed on," he says.
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