Conservation officers were forced to shoot and kill three more bears in the Squamish area during the past week after the animals were deemed public safety threats because of what officers called “high-level habituation” resulting from repeated access to non-natural food sources.
The three deaths bring to 10 the number of bears killed in the Squamish area in 2012. One of the bears was shot in the Valleycliffe area, Sgt. Peter Busink of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service wrote in a statement issued on Monday (Sept. 10).
A few days earlier, officers had issued four Dangerous Wildlife Protection Orders (DWPOs) to homeowners in Valleycliffe, ordering them to pick or otherwise secure ripe fruit that was attracting bears to the area.
The other two bears were in the downtown area, “in a confined area that presented a very high risk to public safety,” Busink wrote. “Both bears were highly habituated to people and food conditioned to unsecured garbage and other attractants.”
A downtown business was issued a violation ticket for attracting dangerous wildlife and a DWPO “requiring the attractant to be secured against bears," he wrote.
Last week another bear that had been feeding on unsecured or unpicked fruit trees was tranquilized in the Garibaldi Estates area and given a short-distance relocation “in an attempt to prevent further conflict,” Busink wrote.
Added Busink, “The Conservation Officer Service is extremely frustrated that some residents and businesses are still not taking responsibility for their attractants.” He urged residents to do so for the safety of the community and of the bears.
Also, the recent sightings of three cougars that “were not aggressive but did appear more habituated to people than normal” has prompted authorities to urge those in the Highway 99/Alice Lake Provincial area to be vigilant and take precautions when recreating in the area. The sightings occurred between Thursday and Saturday (Sept. 6 to 8).
To report problem wildlife occurrences, call the Ministry of Environment’s 24/7 hotline at 1-877-952-7277.