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Investigation launched after extremely close encounters with bears in Whistler

A black bear was filmed eating food out of a takeout container while the person sat beside it.

Conservation officers confirm they're investigating after two people filmed themselves interacting dangerously close to bears in Whistler.

In a statement to Glacier Media, the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) says it's aware of a video that shows a black bear eating out of a food container on a bench and a video that shows a bear being followed by a person. 

"We are dismayed and disappointed at the dangerous position the individual filming this encounter placed themselves in due to the close proximity to the bear, and the apparent disregard to the safety of the bear itself,” says a spokesperson with COS. 

The two videos were shared on social media and caught the eye of one resident who voiced her concern on a local Facebook page. 

One video has since been deleted but was posted on TikTok on Oct. 4 and shows a black bear eating out of a takeout container at what appears to be a Whistler bus stop. 

The video is captioned bear encounter and says "when you don’t take attention [to] surroundings until [it] is too late.”

The person can be seen sitting on the same bench right beside the bear and filming. After 15 seconds, the individual stands up and continues filming the bear. The entire video lasts under 30 seconds.

Another video posted by a different individual was shared on TikTok on Oct. 12, and shows a man following a black bear in Whistler village.

“The bear was huge so obviously I followed it,” reads the caption on the video. 

Conservation officers are investigating the origin and circumstances of the video and say it will “take enforcement action as necessary.”

"Feeding a bear — whether directly or indirectly — is illegal and ultimately often leads to the death of the bear, as once it becomes used to non-natural food and shows a minimal fear of people, it is no longer a candidate for relocation or rehabilitation due to the risk to public safety,” said the spokesperson.

The service understands that residents and visitors in Whistler are accustomed to seeing black bears; however, the complacency shown in the footage can lead to escalating bear conflicts that can put people and the bears at risk, the statement said.

"We cannot stress enough the importance of not feeding dangerous wildlife,” says the spokesperson. 

Anyone who has any information about the people involved in the videos is asked to call 1-877-952-7277.

Conservation officers have had to kill four black bears in Whistler just this year due to human conflicts. 

People living and visiting Whistler are asked to take precautions in case of wildlife encounters and should give bears space. 

"Never approach bears and don’t stop to take pictures. Leash your pets. Travel in groups,” added the spokesperson. 

Conservation officers are also thanking people in Whistler who do their part to keep the bears safe.