A black bear was euthanized by Conservation Officers in Revelstoke today.
Though there has been little conflict with bears in the area so far this year, Dan Bartol, Conservation Officer said that he received a number of complaints from people in Arrow Heights of a black bear that had no fear of humans, earlier this week.
Normally, you can make noise and the bear will run away, Bartol said, but residents reported the bear sticking around or sauntering off slowly, not scared in the least.
On Tuesday, which is garbage day in the neighbourhood, the bear helped itself. When a resident went out to clean up the mess, the bear charged, snarling.
Upon investigating, Bartol found bear scat in backyards with evidence that the bear was eating plums, most likely from trees in the area.
In this case fruit was the initial attractant and a “good reward” for the bear’s unnatural behaviour. At this point in their life cycle, bears are eating as many calories as they can to get ready for hibernation. Meanwhile, berries are getting scarce in the forest and fruit is ripening in the city.
“You almost can’t blame the bears,” Bartol said.
From there the bear’s bad behaviour accelerated.
“It’s not just habituated, it is no longer being just tolerant, it’s displaying aggressive behaviour toward humans, it has gotten into very unnatural food sources, like garbage,” Bartol said.
For the bear that was the end of the line.
“Typically when a bear behaves that way it rarely changes back to natural behaviour because its just getting so many calories by spending so few at the same time,” Bartol said
Bartol set and baited a live trap for the bear, which he caught in less than 12 hours.
Because the bear displayed a high level of aggression and conditioning, it was not a candidate for relocation and was euthanized.
“Basically it is up to us to determine what type of food they are going to get, a natural food source or if they are going to be getting human food, and if it is human food they are not going to change back to natural,” Bartol said.
It is up to residents to remove all bear attractants to keep the bears out of town and alive. Lock up garbage, pick ripe fruit from trees and clean it up if it hits the ground.
For more information on managing bear attractants visit www.revelstokebearaware.org