A bear was killed by Conservation Officers on July 31 on Vancouver Island after it got into someone’s kitchen. (Salmon Beach Village Facebook photo)

A bear was killed by Conservation Officers on July 31 on Vancouver Island after it got into someone’s kitchen. (Salmon Beach Village Facebook photo)

Bear put down after being found on Vancouver Island kitchen counter

Bear trapped and killed near Ucluelet after repeated instances of entering sheds and homes

The West Coast lost a black bear to habituation and food conditioning last month.

A large adult male black bear was trapped and killed by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service at Mussel Beach near Ucluelet on July 31 after causing significant damage and becoming a threat to public safety, according to Conservation Officer Andrew Riddell.

“This bear just was not leaving humans alone,” Riddell told the VI Free Daily. “It was coming around young children and was certainly a risk to the public, so this one wasn’t really considered a candidate whatsoever to be relocated.”

RELATED: Metchosin farmers lose sheep to bear attacks

RELATED: Bear watchers urge bear awareness

He said the bear had been on the Conservation Officer Service’s radar for the past two years and had shown escalating signs of habituation and food conditioning last year, often being spotted in areas around Salmon Beach and Mussel Beach, showing no fear of humans or dogs and being unfazed by hazing techniques like bear bangers.

“Last year, when this bear began showing signs of habituation towards humans and food conditioning, we aired on the side of caution and went out there and we educated a lot of people…On the West Coast, we try to manage the people more so than managing the bear,” Riddell said. “The same bear returned and this year the behaviour of the bear was very concerning as it was ripping apart sheds to get inside of people’s secure structures and standing in front of people who were having campfires.”

Terry Graff of Salmon Beach told the Westerly that the recreational community is accustomed to seeing bears, but this particular bear was menacing and wreaking havoc.

“Because he was so large and he was so unafraid of people and he began breaking into buildings, he became super dangerous. Unfortunately for this bear he did become habituated…He was practically living in somebody’s shed for a while because he got into their freezer once and then kept going back,” she said. “When a bear starts to break into the shed where your garbage is, what do you do? I think this bear was just too smart for his own good and he had a liking for what people had in their sheds and he knew he could get in, he bent steel latches, he ripped doors off.”

She added that one Salmon Beach owner came home to find the bear on his kitchen counter.

“He tried to open the door to get the bear to come out and the bear went ‘exit stage left’ and out through a plexiglass window,” she said.

Based on the bear’s behaviour, conservation officers set up traps at both Salmon Beach and Mussel Beach, where it was eventually captured.Riddell said conservation officers patrolling Salmon Beach were impressed with the attractant management they saw and he suggested the bear’s addiction to human attractants likely set in irreversibly deep last year.

“It wasn’t this year so much that folks weren’t securing their attractants, many of them did, but the bear was ripping doors off to get inside and get at their fridges and things like that,” he said adding no fines were dished out under the B.C. Wildlife Act for failing to secure attractants, but additional educational resources were provided to Salmon Beach residents to prevent another bear from becoming a problem.

“A bear is 500 lbs and that plywood door just isn’t going to be a prevention for a 500 lb bear to get inside. They’re going to make some modifications, so we went on the side of education with the residents this time around.”

Riddell added that the West Coast’s two WildSafeBC coordinators, Bob Hansen and Marianne Paquette are an “excellent resource” for anyone interested in learning more about coexisting with wildlife and he encourages everyone to check out www.wildsafebc.com for tips and strategies on preventing negative interactions with predators.

“Sometimes, we get a little relaxed on how we should be controlling our attractants and it’s very important to know that when you live on the West Coast…it’s very remote and very expected that you’re going to have some sort of interaction with bears and cougars, so securing all those attractants is a must,” he said.

He added that anyone who sees a bear in a residential area must immediately report their sighting to the the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

“Don’t post it on Facebook right away and not call us. It’s always nice to let your community know that there’s something in the area but, if you don’t call, we can’t come out and do some sort of preventive measures to move that bear on,” he said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

bearsWildlife

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A historic home near Granny’s Fruit Stand in Summerland was the home of two of the community’s mayors. J.R. Campbell and Don Cameron both lived at the home on Highway 97 in Summerland, but not at the same time. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Historic house was home to two Summerland mayors

Building along Highway 97 was constructed in 1906

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Fiction writing contest
A call to writers in the Okanagan

UBCO holds annual fiction writing contest

Vaccine rollout is focused on health care workers first, especially those dealing with long-term care facilities. (Nathan Denette - Canadian Press)
General public shouldn’t expect vaccines until fall: Interior Health

Interior Health focused on vaccinating long-term and first-line care workers

A mother hold hands with her daughter while sharing about her struggles with addiction during Overdose Awareness Day. (Jesse Major/Black Press file)
Overdose and suicide support group starts in Penticton

Penticton was one of the province’s communities hardest hit by the overdose crisis in 2020

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Kevin Lee Barrett is charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. (Facebook)
Court hears of victim’s injuries in West Kelowna attempted murder trial

Two-week-long trial continues for Kevin Barrett, accused of trying to kill mother in West Kelowna

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

McBain Insurance in Summerland gave a donation of $816 to Angus Place. The money will go towards a new floor in the bathing room in the seniors care facility. From left are Chris Emmons of McBain Insurance, Stacey Schieman of McBain Insurance and Charmaine Kramer of Parkdale Place Housing Society. (Contributed)
Donation to help with bathing room work at Summerland seniors facility

Earlier contribution will be used to replace aging tub at Angus Place

The steel mills in the Hamilton waterfront harbour are shown in Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Dyer: Stay the course on Carbon pricing

Kristy Dyer has a background in art and physics and consulted for Silicon Valley

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Voting is the number one, bare minimum way to have your voice heard by government. (File photo)
Jocelyn’s Jottings: Want to make change? Here are some suggestions

As a citizen you have a voice, you just have to know who to talk to

Most Read