Whistler's most iconic black bear was killed by the conservation officer service on Friday after three weeks of aggressive behaviour that the officer Chris Doyle said left them little choice.
Jeanie, a bear that has her own Facebook page and was featured in a book and documentary, was caught in a trap, tranquilized and then killed with a gunshot, while her cub was sent to a rescue service in Langley for rehabilitation and will eventually be released back into the wild.
"There was a recent and escalating conflict of a very serious nature," said Doyle. "Specifically, she was breaking into restaurants. She started in the Roundhouse Lodge, where she broke into the building and gained access to the kitchen, and while she was there she charged employees - and she charged employees outside the Roundhouse as well.
"She acted very aggressively to pedestrians outside the Longhorn, attempted to get into the gondola building and we got a report that she broke into the GLC that we're looking into. She had broken into Milestones a few times in the last couple of weeks, and got into there and acted aggressively to people inside and outside the restaurant."
Doyle said that Jeanie had a long conflict history going back several years, but she also responded to non-lethal bear aversion tactics. She was also caught and relocated in her home range several times.
"We've focused on a non-lethal program to keep her out of conflict in the village area in the last few years, so a lot of resources have been spent dealing with this bear - and we certainly would have been willing to deal in that way again, but it reached the point where it was beyond the acceptable limits to protect public safety."
Jeanie's body has been sent out for a necropsy by a veterinarian pathologist to determine if there was something to account for Jeanie's unusual behaviour - an injury or illness. Some bears become more aggressive if they have cancer or other diseases.
Doyle said she appeared to be in good shape, along with the cub, and appeared to be at a healthy weight despite the poor berry crop this year.
Doyle also worked with the Get Bear Smart Society to try and relocate Jeanie to a captive wildlife facility, but a facility couldn't be found that would take her.
"We have a long history with Jeanie, but unfortunately we really didn't have any other choice at this point."
Jeanie was a famous bear who could often be seen on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, easily identified by a triangular patch of white fur on her chest. She was also famously fertile, and was often seen in the company of cubs.
Because of her usually gentle nature, she also became something of a tourist attraction. When a bear tour went out in Whistler, more often than not it was Jeanie who was there for the visitors' cameras.
Jeanie's Facebook page is "Friends of Jeanie the Bear."
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