It was not the bear’s fault he had his life cut short Wednesday.
It was the fault of an anonymous Glenrosa resident who left garbage out where a wild bear would be attracted from the nearby wild canyons and woods—and if Conservation Officer Terry Myroniuk had his way, that resident would have to pull the trigger.
Instead, he had to put the bear down before he harmed a child or destroyed property to get at the easy human food he’s become accustomed to eating.
Before it reached this stage, the Conservation Officer Service logged 11 calls about this bear since last year.
That was his death sentence because that indicates that the bear, a larger black bear, has become habituated to consumption of human foods such as he could scrounge from trash cans, bird feeders, pet food dishes, and rotting fruit, instead of the berries and shoots, grasses and ants he would survive on in the wild.
Once habituated to people food, a bear remembers where those food sources are, and he will return again and again, year after year, to those sources—and he will become more and more bold about his right to that food.
Eventually, he could harm people he sees as coming between his tummy and that food, or he could break into residences where he can smell there’s more such food.
Myroniuk says, “It’s frustrating. Bears come in conflict with people because of people’s behaviour. It’s a people problem.”
Residents should not put garbage out until the morning it’s to be picked up, and it should be secured inside until garbage day, he notes.
Bird feeders should be taken down now until bears go into hibernation, and pet food should never be left outside. Barbecue grates should be cleaned after use and ripe fruit should be picked.
In addition to Glenrosa, Myroniuk said a colleague had to put down a small black sow in the Casa Loma/Thacker Drive area this week who had become aggressive and habituated to human food. She couldn’t be persuaded to go into the trap, and they believe it’s the same bear that was causing problems in the area last year as well.
A sow with triplets that was causing problems on the Mission Creek Greenway last fall has also emerged from hibernation and got into some beehives in a rural residential area near Myra Bellevue Provincial Park, but the hope is that they will wander back into the park.
There was also a fair bit of conflict last fall in the Toovey Heights area and there have been more complaints this spring. A trap has been set up in the area said Myroniuk.
“It’s important that people be diligent about not attracting bears,” he added.
People can be charged and fined if they’re found attracting wildlife.