The sight of bears rummaging through backyards has become more familiar to residents of southern Vancouver Island in recent weeks.
In Langford, there were several sightings through the weekend and into Monday. And after receiving an unusually high number of calls coming from the same area, B.C. conservation officers were forced to act Monday morning, ending the life of an adult bear.
“We made a decision this bear was not a candidate for relocation. Conservation officer service does not relocate bears that are habituated to garbage, so the unfortunate and tough decision we have to make is to euthanize the bear,” said BC Conservation Officer Sgt. Scott Norris.
The bear was killed near the intersection of Treanor Avenue and Millstream Road.
Just blocks away and a day earlier, Jim Banks and his wife Patricia were greeted by an unexpected in the backyard of their Langford home.
“I turn my head like this and I saw a nose and I thought it was a big dog. And then the bear just came walking all the way around here, paws here, right from this window right beside the window and then he jumped up there,” Jim said, describing how the bear wandered in his backyard.
On Monday morning, West Shore RCMP reported a bear sighting in View Royal. It’s unclear if that bear was the same one euthanized in Langford.
And bear sightings have not just been in the West Shore. Fewer than two weeks ago in Saanich, a mother bear and her cub were spotted in Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park. And early Tuesday morning, another was spotted on Carey Road.
Conservation officers say people must take responsibility for their garbage oreuthanization will continue to happen.
Norris said residents must secure garbage, bird seed and compost.
“Otherwise when bears come into our neighbourhoods and they learn to access these food sources, they become habituated and become a public safety threat,” Norris said.
Leaving garbage out that’s accessible to bears can lead to a $230 fine.