September 04, 2015 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS – Three food-conditioned black bears have been euthanized in Kamloops in under ten days and with drought conditions and hibernation approaching there is concern the number of bears in town could increase.
The first bear euthanized was described as a large, aggressive male who had gotten into garbage in Pioneer Park. The bear was killed Aug. 26.
The following day the second bear attempted to enter a mobile home in the G & M trailer park just off Highway 5. Conservation Officer Andy McKay says residents in the park ran the bear up a tree were conservation eventually tranquilized it.
The third and most recent bear was first reported on Westsyde Road. McKay says the bear showed no fear of humans but was also in very poor health and most likely wouldn’t have survived the winter. It was killed Sept. 3.
McKay says conservation officers do not take the prospects of euthanizing an animal lightly. There are many factors involved including age, health or condition of the bear.
“It’s almost a call-by-call thing,” he says, adding there are certain instances when a bear leaves officers no choice.
If a bear shows predatory behaviour, enters a house or attacks a human they will be euthanized. Often if a bear has become food conditioned, or gets into garbage, they will be put down as well.
“Once they’ve had a taste of garbage they’ll keep returning,” McKay says.
During these same two weeks in 2014, four black bears were euthanized, according to the WildSafe B.C. reporting system.
Last month had the lowest number of bear reports, 21, for the month of August in the past seven years, and was well below August 2014 when there were 97 black bear reports.
The community director for the Kamloops branch of WildSafe B.C., Tyne Roberts, says this summer’s drought is pushing more bears into the city limits.
“So far 2015 has had relatively few black bear sightings when compared to previous years, however the beginning of September shows more than in previous years. This may be because the effects of the drought are only starting to have an effect on the bears now,” Roberts says.
She says berries have dried up and fish sources are depleted making the bear’s struggle for food more dire. While the past two weeks are down over the same time period last year for bear reports, the first few days of September have more reports of bear sightings, 17, over the same time last year, 10.
Roberts asks residents to manage your attractants by securing garbage, picking fruit from fruit trees when ripe and never leaving pet food outside.
A bear bylaw requiring residents to not put out their garbage until 4 a.m. on their pickup day remains in effect in Kamloops until the end of November.
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