Irshadgul News report,
Officers killed a black bear on Friday morning near a backcountry campground southwest of Whistler, BC, after it snatched several backpacks from Hangar BC Park, set up to keep food away from bears.
BC conservation officials euthanized the bear at the Taylor Meadows campsite in Garibaldi Provincial Park, about 20 kilometers southwest of Whistler.
The province’s environment ministry said the black bears showed “determined behavior too high to pose a public safety risk”.
“Putting down any bear is an unfortunate consequence that we work very hard to prevent,” a ministry spokesman said in a statement. “The bear repeatedly retrieved food bags from the cache, returned to the campground several times and showed the least amount of fear of the people.
“Because of the risk to public safety, bears that have been conditioned to human food sources are not candidates for relocation or resettlement.”
Last year B.C. conservation officials killed 581 black bears, according to provincial Freedom of Information documents obtained by The Fur-Bearers Advocacy Organization.
This is higher than the average of the last seven years, in which a total of 3,779 bears were euthanized.
‘The problem of education of the people’
As bears’ appetites increase before winter hibernation, experts said, they are moving into increasingly popular places they wouldn’t normally be found.
Euthanasia to habitual bears is a deeply unfortunate consequence of people bringing food to the backcountry—and often storing it improperly or not cleaning up adequately after cooking, said Jay MacArthur, of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of B.C. Chairman of the Trails Committee for
“I don’t want to see the bear die, it’s terrible,” he said. “But, you know, it’s really a problem of people’s education, not so much a bear – you can’t re-educate a bear.
“Once a bear gets used to eating human food, unfortunately there really isn’t much they can do.”
Several areas of the same park had to be closed to visitors this year, including the Singing Creek and Cheekamas Lake campgrounds, because bears are becoming attracted to human food.
A CBC News video from the Taylor Meadows Campground shows a black bear anxiously climbing a tree, trying to reach the backpacks of a handful of campers that hang from wires on a pulley system—the bag from the bear. A food cache designed for safe keeping.
A bear in Garibaldi Provincial Park has been brought down after several times carrying a backpack. Experts say they are seeing some bears moving into areas they would not normally be seen. Bannet Brich has the details. pic.twitter.com/KVNymoU8gO
The Taylor Meadows area, west of Lake Garibaldi, is generally a popular site for bears with all their berry bushes, as they chew on as much food as they can before hibernating.
But according to the president of the Friends of Garibaldi Park Society, this season’s late summer and cold and wet weather is different from other years.
“I wasn’t surprised to hear that the bear was shot down,” Taryn Eaton said in an interview. “In a situation where it’s reaching human food, it’s really unavoidable.
“Many traditional food sources for bears weren’t available as quickly as they usually are.”
Two separate handwritten notes affixed by campers on the official BC Parks food cash sign on Thursday said the bear had taken at least one backpack from elevated wire hangers provided by the province to keep food away from the bears .
A Wednesday note said a bear had taken a red bag from the cache, which campers found in the woods along with a black and green pack. “The bear was guarding this and another pack,” the note said.
A second note, also from Wednesday, said, “Warning: A bear took a bag full of food from the bear’s cache rope near the tree! He’ll be back!!”
Remind the public to take precautions
Advocates are once again reminding campers to take precautions to avoid future tragedies – for humans and for the bears killed on Friday.
Prevention advice includes:
- Use the bear-proof container and food cache provided.
- Never bring small amounts of food into your tent.
- Consider sleeping in clothes that are different from what you cooked with them, as bears have very sensitive noses.
The province said in a statement that B.C. Parks and Conservation officials are urging service campers to take precautions in bear country, “traveling in groups, carrying bear spray and ensuring that attractants are safely stored.” “
MacArthur wants the province to hire more park rangers because the current staff is thin and the problem isn’t enough time to educate campers.
He also hopes that B.C. parks install impossible metal boxes for bears to pick up food — unlike food hanging from wire hangers, he said bears can behave “like a game.”
He adds that the bear safety and prevention warnings on B.C.’s backcountry booking websites aren’t prominent enough.