Bear euthanized at Okanagan trailer park after getting into garbage | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Bear euthanized at Okanagan trailer park after getting into garbage

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A bear has been destroyed this week after it became accustomed to rifling through garbage in a Lake Country trailer park.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service received multiple reports about the bear, which had become habituated to the human trash, conservation officer Ken Owens said.

He stressed this incident didn’t involve a “problem bear.” He said the "problem" lies with humans.

“It’s people primarily not dealing with their attractants, whether it be garbage, bird seed or fruit,” Owens said.

The adult male was euthanized, Oct. 8, at roughly 2 p.m. after it continued to access unprotected garbage from a non-bear resistant storage container in the mobile home park.

The park owner was issued a Dangerous Wildlife Protection Order to ensure bears do not have continued access to garbage on site, he said.

When a bear becomes habituated to garbage, it becomes impossible for the bear to be re-habituated as it will remember where to locate the food, he said.

Conservation officers saw a spike in bear reports in the Central Okanagan this spring, but Owens noted officers hadn't had to kill more bears this year than compared to last.

READ MORE: Huge spike in bear sightings reported in West Kelowna area

In the Upper Mission neighbourhood in Kelowna, a mother bear and her two cubs had to be euthanized when they also became habituated to garbage, he said. The two cubs were put down this spring.

"She was taking them from residence to residence," he said. "She started getting into vehicles and starting doing property damage," he said, adding that the yearlings also had to be killed as they were taught to eat garage, bird seed and fruit.

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan is currently conducting a pilot project with certified bear-resistant containers at certain residences to keep attractant levels down, he said.

Bears are also fattening up during this time of year for winter hibernation.

Under the Wildlife Act, conservation officers may issue a Dangerous Wildlife Protection Order if food attractants, such as garbage, pose a significant safety risk by drawing dangerous wildlife to public areas. The order directs the person in charge of a premise to move or remove food attractants within a reasonable time period. Failing to abide by the terms of an order may result in a violation ticket or further follow up, he said.

If people leave their garbage out, that’s a $230 fine, he said.

WildSafeBC asks that residents be careful with their pumpkins to avoid inviting an unwanted bear during the Halloween season.

Like most fruits and berries, bears are attracted to pumpkins. Like any attractant, please do not leave them outside, especially at night, WildSafeBC said.

READ MORE: B.C. conservation officers move from education to enforcement to keep bears alive

Keep pumpkins inside at night in a cool place and avoid putting them out too early as this will accelerate its decomposition and increase its odour.

The public can report conflicts with dangerous wildlife, where this is a threat to public safety, to the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline toll-free at 1-877-952-7277.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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