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Two young bears trapped and put down in Juniper Ridge

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
June 14, 2017 - 10:30 AM

KAMLOOPS – Two young bears known to frequent the Juniper Ridge neighbourhood lost their natural fear of humans and officers with the B.C. Conservation Service were forced to put them down.

The two juvenile bears had strong habits of eating garbage and had developed bold behaviour including breaking into a shed and hanging out near an elementary school.

Officers were keeping a close eye the mother and her two cubs since last fall. When they came out of hibernation this spring, they became increasingly active, according to conservation officer Kevin Van Damme.

The bears had no fear of humans and would walk down the street in broad daylight knocking over garbage bins. Despite the efforts of some residents to lock garbage down, one of the bears broke into a shed to access the bins.

The young bears were about one and a half years old and became very active after splitting away from their mother. The sow is still out there and Van Damme expects she will have to be put her down as well.

Many Juniper Ridge residents took to Facebook to post photos and videos of the bears. VanDamme says social media can be useful to get the word out to fellow residents, it doesn't help officers in their effort to keep track of the animals. He added that all interaction or observances of wildlife should always be reported to the Report All Poachers and Polluters or RAPP line.

Van Damme says situations like this one are frustrating to officers because the resources put toward tracking, trapping and putting these animals down may have been used elsewhere.

"It's difficult because we all got into this profession to protect wildlife and our resources are getting pulled away to deal with human wildlife contact," Van Damme says.

Trapping and relocating them was not an option. Van Damme says because they were already so used to eating garbage, they would just return to this community or another and continue the behaviour.

Along with locking up garbage and taking steps to keep attractants away from them, it's vital for people to make every encounter a frightening one for the bears.

"Every single contact a bear has with a person chips away at the natural fear they have of man. Once they realize people are not a threat or concern, they will walk among people," Van Damme says.

To report any human and wildlife interaction call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kim Anderson 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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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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