Conservation Officer Brad Adams, based out of Port McNeill, walks next to his work truck. (Bill McQuarrie photo)

Food-conditioned black bear destroyed near Port Hardy

This time of year bears should be eating grass. Make sure they’re not eating your garbage instead.

A black bear sow was destroyed last week (May 1) near Fort Rupert.

The animal was food-conditioned, which means it knew where to get high-caloric food — a lot more efficient than huffing down huckleberries for an animal that needs upwards of 8,000 calories a day this time of year.

A food-conditioned bear sees unnatural food sources as their own, and will defend them as such. This can pose a risk to humans, forcing the B.C. Conservation Officer Service to deem the creature as dangerous, and destroy it.

“It’s really something we try to put out of our mind at the end of the day,” said Conservation Officer Brad Adams.

They say ‘destroy’ instead of ‘put down’ because when an animal is put down, it’s for its own good. Maybe it’s sick or injured, Adams said. But with a food-conditioned bear, it’s for our own good.

“There’s no way to really sugar coat what it is,” he said.

READ: Ride along with a North Island conservation officer

The province has a protocol that clearly outlines non-lethal options for bears, such as hazing or relocation. But a food-conditioned bear is very likely to seek out a town again, even if it’s relocated.

It takes a bear a whole day of berry eating to get full. But a quick hit of dog food, or a compost/garbage meal is far more filling, in much shorter time. Bears who learn this caloric shortcut will come back for more.

“It just takes one person who doesn’t store their food properly,” Adams said.

“The bear will find that attractant. They are opportunistic. We really want the community to understand why the bears behave as they do, so that we can understand how to live with wildlife around us.”

A total of 665 bears were destroyed last year by conservation officers in B.C.

Report bear sightings immediately to the Conservation Officer Service’s 24 hour hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

WildSafeBC keeps records of reported sightings on its Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WARP). Visit https://warp.wildsafebc.com/warp/

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Port Hardy called in record number of black bear sightings last year

Conservation Officers attended 74 of the 314 calls made

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Ruined picnic tables are the main damage

Port McNeill’s outdoor swimming pool will stay closed this summer

The Town of Port McNeill typically hires 12-13 staff for the pool every year.

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read