Conservation Officer issues plea after garbage bear killed in Revelstoke

Revelstoke residents are being asked to secure their garbage after a bear was killed by the Conservation Officer Service on Sunday.

Bears getting into people's garbage has been an issue in Columbia Park

Revelstoke residents are being asked to secure their garbage after a bear was killed by the Conservation Officer Service on Sunday.

Conservation Officer Dan Bartol said a juvenile bear was trapped and euthanized after it was seen multiple times dragging bags of garbage down the street in broad daylight in Columbia Park last week.

“This is repeated behaviour in the middle of the day on streets where people are concerned for their kids,” he told the Review. “We know food conditioned bears are the most dangerous bears.”

The young black bear, which Bartol estimated was about three years old, was seen in the area of Bernard Nelson Road and Pearkes Drive last week. Numerous reports came in of the bear getting into garbage and people’s fruit trees.

“I received about a half dozen reports of a bear getting into garbage and walking in the middle of residential neighbourhoods in the middle of the day, which is pretty unnatural, abnormal behaviour,” said Bartol. “Having several reports all within the course of a week was disturbing.”

The bear was caught in a trap, but because of the its behaviour, he wasn’t considered a candidate for re-location. He was killed by the Conservation Officer the morning of Sunday, July 10.

“A black bear that’s in town in the day eating garbage, it’s a pretty black and white issue, there’s not that kind of decision making,” said Bartol when asked if other options were considered.

Since then, reports of a large adult black bear getting into people’s garbage in the area of the Baptist Church in Columbia Park have come in. “He was reported on Monday walking down the road with garbage in the middle of the day,” said Bartol, adding that a trap has been set for the bear.

He’s hoping people will secure their garbage so the bear goes away and finds natural food sources.

“If the whole neighbourhood’s cleaned up and he finds a natural food source, that’s great,” he said. We’d be happy to pull the trap and give the guy a second chance.”

He doesn’t mind being the bad guy for killing a black bear if the message goes out and people start securing their garbage.

“There will be some backlash because of this discussion and we’re going to be painted as the bad guys,” Bartol said. “If it reaches enough people and they start securing their attractants, I’m willing to be called a lot of nasty names if it helps protect bears in general.”