A young bear who learned how to access resort homes from its mother was destroyed by conservation officers this week, marking the second bear death of the season in Whistler.
The bear was one of three in a litter born in 2012 to a sow with a knack for accessing occupied residences and non-natural food sources in the Whistler area, according to Sgt. Peter Busink of the Conservation Officer Service (COS).
"(The sow) had three cubs and immediately started teaching them how to enter residences and that they could get food rewards in and around residences," said Busink, who indicated the sow had been tranquilized in the past as a result of a human-wildlife conflict.
"Basically right from the start these cubs had a strike against them because their mom was immediately teaching them (about) non-natural food sources and the methods of getting them."
The sow and her cubs were relocated out of Whistler in 2012 to Chance Creek, only to return to the resort last year.
"Normally when we relocate bears to that area, we don't tend to hear from them again," Busink said. "But they returned in 2013, and resumed the same behaviour, and that's getting into occupied residences, up on balconies, trying to access non-natural food sources and showing absolutely zero fear of humans."
The behaviour continued after this winter's hibernation, with the young bear, who became independent from its mother in the fall, accessing several Whistler residences recently, including a home in Alpine on June 9, Busink said.
"For the last month and a half we've been in discussion with the Whistler Bear Working Group and identified that this is a bear that's too high risk to the public in terms of the behaviour it was exhibiting, and told them we were planning on destroying the bear if we were able to get it," he added.
Officers located and destroyed the bear on Thursday, June 12.
"It was an unfortunate end for this bear, and although it was predetermined, certainly it's the worst part of our job," said Busink.
Conservation officers have destroyed two bears so far this season. A male bear who had been relocated twice previously due to conflict was killed May 2 after entering a home in White Gold.
The public is reminded to report any wildlife conflicts by calling 1-877-952-7277.
With files from Whistler Publishing.
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