Mother bear near Thetis put down due to ‘food-conditioned behaviour’

Mother bear near Thetis put down due to 'food-conditioned behaviour'
Nearby residents have set up a memorial for the mother bear at Thetis Lake Park.

A mother bear that frequented Thetis Lake has been put down by Conservation Officers after she was showing food-conditioned behaviour and was not fearful of humans.

The black bear’s three cubs were tranquillized and relocated to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre to determine if they are eligible to be raised and then released once old enough.

In an email, the BC Conservation Officer Service says this bear had already been relocated in 2019 from a residential area in Langford.

Over the last month, the service had received a number of reports about the bear getting into unsecured attractants around the area in View Royal including along trails at Thetis Lake. People also reported the bear was climbing onto porches to access food.

“Bears that display food-conditioned behaviour and show a minimal fear of people are not candidates for relocation or rehabilitation, as the risk to public safety is too great,” the conservation office said.

“Conservation Officers cannot stress enough the importance of securing attractants to help prevent bears and other wildlife from accessing them. It is the single best way to help keep the public, and bears, safe.”

RELATED: Nanaimo bears becoming habituated due to unsecured garbage: BC COS

Liz Williams, who lives in the area and also is a doctoral candidate studying human and animal relations, says this really highlights the importance of taking steps to safely coexist with animals when living near their habitats.

“We have these communities that are living, essentially right on forests, like there really is no separation between a lot of the houses, what’s supposed to be a wildlife refuge,” Williams tells CHEK News.

“And so this is just going to be a continuous problem, unless we treat those areas as though they are in wildlife habitat, just treating them as so as any other yard isn’t functional in terms of coexistence.”

Williams says her roommate and other people in the neighbourhood are reaching out to Wild Wise and the municipality to find ways to make the neighbourhood more wildlife safe to prevent something like this from happening again.

For people living in areas with wildlife, WildSafeBC has tips for how to create a WildSafe yard, including tips to properly secure garbage and compost.

Two printed pictures of a bear with cubs hung on a fence.

Photos of the bear and her cubs have been added to the memorial for the mother bear at Thetis Lake Park.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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