Gulch woman distraught over bear shooting

A woman felt sick to her stomach after watching a local conservation officer destroy a bear Wednesday.

A woman who’s lived in the Gulch for about 30 years felt sick to her stomach after watching a local conservation officer destroy a bear Wednesday.

Rhonda Dunn said she witnessed workers on the bank in between Rossland Avenue and Binns Street Park taunt a bear for over two hours and then was appalled to see how the animal was disposed of.

“(A conservation officer) shot the bear and everybody was watching and then they just rolled it down the bank like it’s just nothing,” she said. “It just bothered me that they just disposed of the bear so quickly like that and the way they shot him and flopped him down to the main road – it was disturbing.”

But conservation officer Ben Beetlestone said he was just doing his job and had to shoot the habituated bear after its threatening  behavoiur.

He received a call from contract workers doing work for Telus who said the bear approached them “popping his jaw, hissing and snorting.”

Neighbourhood residents confirmed that the large brown bear was in fact one that has made the bank his home in recent months, eating garbage.

Though he understands witnessing such an event for the first time could impact someone, he said he did warn Dunn.

“Put it this way, she was advised prior,” he said. “She asked me specifically, ‘Are you going to shoot the bear?’ and I said ‘Yes.’ It’s a 375-pound bear, it’s on a hillside, there’s no other way of getting it to the bottom other than rolling it down the hill.”

The bear was loaded in a truck by Beetlestone, with the help of four other men, and brought to the Trail landfill.

Garbage continues to be the primary attractant that brings these animals into residential areas and respecting the local bear population starts with managing waste, said Beetlestone.

Though there has been a slight decrease in the number of bears shot this year – he estimates about 40 so far throughout the large area covered by the two conservation officers  – complaints received are on par with last year.

For more information on living with bears and dealing with problem wildlife visit: www.rosslandbearaware.org

To report a problem animal call: 1-877-952-7277.