Bear found wandering into Vernon home will be euthanized | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Bear found wandering into Vernon home will be euthanized

A black bear is seen in this undated WildSafeBC photo.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / WildSafeBC
June 10, 2020 - 7:30 AM

A bear that was reported to the Conservation Officer Service last week after it wandered into a Vernon home will be euthanized once it’s caught, says a Conservation Officer.

Last Thursday, June 4, a Vernon resident left his door open in the afternoon to cool the home, only to find a black bear he initially thought was a dog had wandered inside, said Conservation Officer Micah Kneller. After yelling at it, the bear left.

He said the service gets the occasional report about bears attempting to break into vehicles, but this incident on Silver Star Road is a rare occasion.

Since the initial incident, Conservation Officers have set up traps for it, but it has not been caught. Other area residents have also started reporting a bear that is now eating garbage.

READ MORE: Know who doesn't care about COVID-19? Hungry bears out of hibernation

When a bear becomes this used to being around humans, “we can’t save it,” Kneller said.

Once a bear becomes accustomed to non-natural food sources like garbage, it will keep coming back.

Eventually, the bear’s behaviour will slowly progress until it’s comfortable around humans and you see incidents like this one, Kneller said.

It’s up to people to ensure that garbage and other attractants aren’t left outside for bears to eat, he said.

READ MORE: Employee surprised to find bear instead of customer in Revelstoke pet store

He recommends that cities get involved in the Bear Smart Community program, like the City of Kamloops, to prevent these types of incidents from happening.

“In the province, we kill too many problem bears, but it’s so preventable and we need everybody’s buy in,” he said.

Like other parts of B.C., Conservation Officers in Vernon are also dealing with a spike in bear-related reports this year compared to last, he said.

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

The province is currently ramping up its enforcement as Conservation Officers are patrolling neighbourhoods to see if attractants are secured through the use of bear-proof bins, picking excess fruit from trees, use of electric fencing and other measures.

"Drivers of human-wildlife conflicts can be very complicated. In part, some of the spike in reports being made to COS are the result of some very active black bear yearlings. This time of year, sows with cubs born last winter, will be kicking their cubs out of the nest, so to speak. These newly independent yearling bears are learning how to fend for themselves, and like human teenagers they can be more likely get into trouble, particularly if they have access to unnatural food sources, like garbage and bird seed," said community coordinator Meg Bjordal, with Wildsafe B.C.

"Access to unnatural foods causes bears to become food-conditioned, and once a bear is food-conditioned, they may start associating people with food, becoming habituated and tolerating people in closer proximity than what is safe."

To learn tips on how you can bear proof your home, visit Wildsafe BC's website.


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