A bear sow and two cubs were recently destroyed. Photo: Bill Pennell

A bear sow and two cubs were recently destroyed. Photo: Bill Pennell

Bear sow and two cubs destroyed in Rossland

The bears had recently been breaking into vehicles in the city in search of food

A bear sow and two cubs have been destroyed after they recently broke into several vehicles in Rossland in search of food.

“This is one of the things where destroying a bear is never the desired outcome for the COS (Conservation Officer Service),” said West Kootenay conservation officer Matthieu Soucy.

“However, sometimes in the interest of public safety, it’s necessary to do it.”

Soucy said motorists later released the bears from the vehicles, putting their own safety at risk in the process.

Of note, the number of vehicles broken into or the exact location of the incidents couldn’t be provided by the COS to the Rossland News.

While the COS typically tries to rehabilitate bears and release them into the wild, the bears in this situation had become too much of a public threat.

“Conservation officers typically assess each bear situation on a case-by-case basis,” said Soucy.

“Factors include the animal’s history, the level of food conditioning and their level of habituation to animals.”

It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure food attractants are properly stored away from wildlife, according to Soucy.

“We’re had quite heavy bear conflict not only in Rossland this year, but in Trail as well,” he said.

“This comes back to a community level where it’s all of our responsibilities to manage food attractants.”

Last spring and summer in the Rossland and Trail area, five bears had to be destroyed due to people not managing their attractants.

In Oct. 2019, at least 11 bears were destroyed in West Kelowna and Penticton after they became habituated to attractants.

Keeping food out of vehicles, picking fruit from your trees and properly storing garbage and food around your house are things you can do to help prevent bears from becoming habituated to food.

READ MORE: Wildlife group challenges B.C.’s interpretation of law on destroying bears


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connor.trembley@castlegarnews.com

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