Whistler woman's buffet for bears results in $60,000 fine | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Whistler woman's buffet for bears results in $60,000 fine

Image of a bear on Zuzana Stevikova's property in Whistler.
Image Credit: B.C. Conservation Officer Service

A Whistler woman is facing $60,000 in fines for feeding bears on her property in a case the B.C. Conservation Officer Service called precedent-setting.

Zuzana Stevikova has been issued the greatest overall penalty imposed under the Wildlife Act in B.C. during sentencing earlier this week at the North Vancouver Provincial Court.

The Conservation Officer Service began investigating in July of 2018 after a tip came in, letting officers know a Kadenwood neighbourhood resident had been feeding black bears for some time.

“The investigation found that Stevikova had been intentionally feeding black bears throughout the summer of 2018. Bulk produce – including up to 10 cases of apples, 50 pounds of carrots and up to 15 dozen eggs – was purchased on a weekly basis to feed the bears,” according to the Conservation Officer Service’s Facebook post.

“These activities created an extraordinary public safety risk by conditioning bears to human food and presence.”

Three bears.
Three bears.
Image Credit: B.C. Conservation Officer Service

During September 2018, Conservation Officers had to put down three bears as they were repeatedly visiting the area, causing damage, and began to lose their fear of people.

“The non-natural food conditioning ensured these bears were not candidates for rehabilitation or relocation, as the risk to the safety of area residents and visitors was simply far too great,” according to the service.

“The primary concern of the COS is public safety. Illegally feeding or placing attractants to lure dangerous wildlife, such as bears, is an extremely dangerous activity,” said COS Sgt. Simon Gravel in the same post. “Once bears learn to associate humans with food, it creates a public safety risk.”

Most of the money paid through the fines has been ordered to go to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

READ MORE: Reports of conflicts with hungry bears on the rise in South Okanagan

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