FILE – Black bears who get into people’s trash can be dangerous, conservation officers warn. (Black Press Media files)

Coquitlam mayor ‘heartbroken,’ but says not to ‘vilify’ COS after death of bear family

Three bears euthanized after getting habituated

The mayor of Coquitlam is “heartbroken” and frustrated, after a mother bear and her two cubs were euthanized Tuesday.

B.C.’s Conservation Officer Service told Black Press Media earlier this week that the sow and seven-month-old cubs were euthanized because they were no longer fearful of humans and were habituated to human garbage.

In a social media post Sunday, Mayor Richard Stewart said this bear family had been an ongoing issue for his city that could have been prevented if people reported bear sightings to conservation officers, instead of posting videos on Facebook.

“It appears there was an opportunity to get that family of bears back into Mundy Park or back into the ravines to forage for natural food (blackberries are currently in abundance),” Stewart wrote.

:But those who vilify COS and instead post cute bear videos ended up wasting that opportunity, and unwittingly signed the death sentence for a beautiful sow and her two playful cubs.”

Stewart said the city first heard about the concerns over a bear family in Chineside in May.

Over the following weeks, Stewart said, conservation officers tried to trap and relocate the bears who had “formed a routine of visiting these particular homes.”

Steward said that over the following weeks and months, the city sent out literature on how to avoid bear-human conflicts to 600 homes in the Chineside area of Coquitlam and increased nighttime patrols for early garbage set-out.

However, by early July there had been three bear-human interactions in Mundy Park. Conservation officers set a trap in the area, and banned food from the park.

Conservation officers saw and chased the bears again on July 24, but were unable to catch them.

On July 26, Stewart said the bears entered a home in the area, showing conservation officers “the bears could not be safely relocated, as they were too acclimated to human garbage and had no fear of humans.”

On July 30, all three bears were killed.

Three people were arrested for interfering with the conservation officers’ work and are facing charges under theWildlife Act.

READ MORE: B.C. Conservation Service defends three arrests as officers shoot problem bears

Stewart said while he understood why the people were upset about the bears being killed, the conservation officers had no choice but to euthanize the bears.

“I’m heartbroken that these bears are being killed,” he said.

“But please don’t blame COS, who really have no choice once a bear is habituated to human garbage and shows no fear of humans.”

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service recommends securing all trash, picking fruit on the property and reporting all bear encounters to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Geotechnical work set to get underway at Rossland Museum

Crews will be working at the museum from June 1 to 12

Trail Smoke Eaters owner awaits word on BCHL future

Smoke Eaters owner Rich Murphy is hopeful that the BCHL will return to the ice in the fall

City of Rossland asks motorists to be mindful of four bears roaming around Trail hill

The bears have been seen multiple times along the highway this month

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Restorative pole project underway in Edgewood

The pole was made almost 50 years ago to pay respect to local First Nations

Most Read