Vernon News

We're not getting any better at attracting — and killing — bears

Local conservation officers say they are overwhelmed with bear complaints.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

The number of bears that needed to be destroyed this year in B.C. jumped by more than 50 per cent from last year, and while the number of bears euthanized in the Interior stayed roughly the same, one dead bear is one too many, says the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

"The number of bears we are destroying is unacceptable," B.C. Conservation Officer Service Sgt. Jeff Hanratty told

The statistics show the steep rise in bear deaths is not caused by residents of the Interior, but regardless, those living in the Thompson-Okanagan are not getting better at encouraging bears out of the world, which Hanratty says still isn't good enough.

"I would say this year is consistent with other years in terms of call volume and the number of bears destroyed in our zone," Hanratty said. "Although it's consistent it's still not acceptable."

Between Apr. 1 and Sept. 30 the B.C. Conservation Officer Service euthanized 411 black bears around the province, a 54 per cent increase over the same period in 2018 when they were forced to kill 267 bears.

While numbers across the Interior remained much the same as last year with eight bears euthanized in Kamloops and Kelowna, three in Vernon and one in Penticton, Hanratty says the numbers are still far too high.

"It comes back to garbage, it comes back to people not picking fruit off fruit and nut trees," Hanratty said. "These bears, they receive that food reward and it helps them overcome their fear and eventually when they become a public safety risk we're forced to deal with them and it's not a pleasant task."

Hanratty is blunt in his message that's it's not okay to leave garbage and other bear attractants out, and residents that do can face steep fines.

Hanratty urges people to report wildlife violations to the province's RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 or online here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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