bear blast 

Garbage-addicted bear ‘sealed own death warrant’ By Andy Stonehouse Whistler RCMP are asking for an extra level of public awareness about the problems of interactions between humans and bears after a "problem bear" was shot and killed on the weekend. Local police and conservation officers were forced to kill the bear on July 18 when it made a bold charge into an occupied Rainbow Drive home to take garbage, and then refused to be scared off of the property. Despite their best attempts to handle the situation in a non-lethal fashion, officers resorted to shooting the animal. Cpl. Mike Shannon said the whole episode points to the continued need for public education on the fact that leaving garbage out will only lead to more dead bears. "The bear was shot as absolutely the last resort," Shannon said. "It was really annoying to see that the bear was so acclimatized to people. He sealed his own death warrant." Shannon said the incident began at about 8 p.m. when the homeowner went out for a moment, leaving the door open. A six-year-old, medium-sized black bear sauntered in, hungry for food or garbage. Shannon said two young children in the home at the time apparently thought their father had returned and ran into the kitchen, only to come face to face with the bear. The bear grabbed a bag of garbage and dragged it out of the home, but stopped only about three feet outside of the door and began to eat the trash. RCMP were called and Shannon said officers did everything in their power to try to scare the bear off, including driving right up to it and turning on their sirens, but the bear remained. Officers also shot the bear in the rear with plastic bullets, but the bear only ran about five feet from the scene and refused to go any further. A conservation officer was notified and indicated he would come and destroy the bear, but Shannon said RCMP at the scene decided they had a clear shot at the bear and decided to try to shoot to kill. "Unfortunately, the shot wasn't fatal, and the bear ran about 100 feet straight up a tree, so a second shot was impossible." The conservation officer soon arrived and took aim at the bear with a scoped rifle, shooting and killing it. The animal's body, however, became wedged in the tree's branches and the Whistler fire department had to be called to try to extract the body. Fire fighters were unable to reach the body with their ladder truck so a high-pressure fire hose had to be used to blast the bear carcass out of the tree. Shannon said the entire episode was distressing for both police and neighbours, but said that the bear had been seen poking its head into another neighbourhood window at an earlier time and clearly was going to pose continued problems in the area. "If there's anything we can tell people, it's just to ask them to secure their garbage and do not feed the bears. A fed bear is a dead bear." The municipality has just released its black bear management plan and Shannon said the RCMP would like to play as pro-active a roll as possible in helping to preserve the local black bear population.

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