The BC Conservation Officer Service says two black bears were euthanized in Lake Cowichan on Thursday – though neither are believed to be the animal that wandered into a convenience store in town and swiped a bag of candy.
Conservation spokesperson David Karn says the two bears were put down after the BCCOS received multiple reports of the bears being food-conditioned and showing “minimal fear of people.”
The bears were repeatedly seen rummaging through unsecured garbage, and at one point one entered a home, attempted to enter a second home, and damaged a shed.
“This loss of fear of humans and repeated efforts to access non-natural food and dwellings made these bears unable to be relocated or rehabilitated, as the risk to the public is simply far too great,” said Karn.
The gummy bear bandit?
Conservation officers do not believe that either of the euthanized bears was the same animal that walked into a Lake Cowichan store and grabbed a bag of gummy bears on Monday.
Tiptons Gas Bar owner Jay deGoesbriand says he was drinking coffee behind the counter when “Mr. Bear” decided to “come in, have a look around and do some shopping.”
“Got himself a little bag of candy and went out in the parking lot and ate it,” laughed Jay in an interview with CHEK News on Monday.
He didn’t seem to be interested in any other items, walking past chocolate bars, chips, ice cream and the bait fridge.
Karen deGoesbriand, Jay’s wife, said she was amazed.
“I thought it was so cool. I love wildlife,” she said. “Obviously has a sweet tooth.”
The BCCOs is urging residents to make sure they limit the number of bear attractants in the community, such as garbage, pet food and bird seed.
All attractions should be secured so that wild animals can’t access them, and fruit that falls from trees should be removed the ground.
The BCCOS adds that it continues to monitor for bear activity in the Lake Cowichan area, and that it’s working with local officials to spread wildlife safety awareness.
“We recognize this is distressing news for many people. Putting down any bear is an unfortunate outcome we work so hard to prevent,” said Karn.
With files from CHEK’s Ethan Morneau