Here’s a Tale of Three Bears that, while lacking Goldie Locks, certainly has a similarly unhappy outcome:
According to Sue Davies, Revelstoke’s WildSafeBC/Bear Aware coordinator a habituated black bear recently walked down the middle of a residential Southside street at the height of the day systematically going through garbage cans put out for collection. This probably was the same bear that attempted to enter a home earlier this month. The Conservation Officer was called and a trap was set. Within the day the bear was caught and destroyed as a problem bear, Davies said.
“But before you get all riled up about the Conservation Officers having to shoot this bear, consider the history of this bear and the reason it is in this situation in the first place,” she said.
“It was probably living a wild life accessing all sorts of wild foods with a healthy respect for humans and the danger they posed to it when it noticed a huge cherry tree just dripping with ripe fruit so it stopped by for a feed. People in the neighbourhood saw the bear and stopped to take photos, some of them shouted and honked their horns, some dogs barked, but the bear soon learned that the shouting, honking, and barking didn’t hurt, so it continued to eat cherries. Then it moved on to the tree next door.
“A couple of weeks of this had it very comfortable with the presence of humans, and when the cherries dried up and ran out, it moved on to the garbage can that was left beside the back door of one of the houses. The next day was garbage day in the neighbourhood and suddenly there were garbage cans everywhere. The bear’s lack of fear of humans led it to wander down the middle of the road checking out each bin, even though people were still shouting at it.
“The bear’s next move was to go up the steps and sniff at the screen door of one of those houses. Suddenly the humans saw this as a serious threat to their safety and the bear is now a ‘problem bear.’”
So, of course, the animal was trapped and shot.
“But really, it is not the bear that’s the problem; the problem is the cherry tree, the garbage, and the humans that didn’t manage to keep these things from feeding the bear.”
So what’s the moral of this story, that was fatally repeated by bears in Arrow Heights and Columbia Park?
“Three bears have now been destroyed in Revelstoke this season,” Davies said. “If we don’t clean up the garbage and ripe fruit, more are likely to follow.”
We have a very good public awareness program in Revelstoke concerning what to do to reduce the risk of conflict with bears, but many residents still choose not to follow the basic advice, which is to secure all items that attract bears.
There are lots more bears out there and, with the failure of the berry crop in many parts of the region, they are all ravenous and looking for food.
Towards that end she said WildsafeBC, in partnership with Revelstoke Bear Aware, is issuing a public advisory to help raise awareness of the issue, and encourage residents to manage all bear attractants.
“Look for the public advisory flyer in your mail, on public notice boards, and on social media,” Davies, who is also the Bear Aware coordinator, said in a statement. “Read the list on the flyer of all the things bears might be attracted to, then put yourself in the bear’s shoes, and look at your property as an area to forage for food. If you find anything that a bear might eat, secure it! If you don’t secure your bear attractants then… which happened here just a few days ago, will unfold over and over again this season.”
For more information on managing wildlife attractants please visit www.wildsafebc.com. To report wildlife sightings or conflicts with wildlife please call the RAPP line at 1-877-952 7277.