Bear problem escalates in Brio neighbourhood 

One Bear killed this week, traps set

By Nancy Hyndman and Clare Ogilvie

A bear is dead after a Brio resident continued to hand feed it.

Conservation officers had no choice by to trap and kill the bear Monday after it had become habituated to getting food from a house on Panorama Ridge.

"This is absolutely unacceptable," said Sylvia Dolson, executive director of the Jennifer Jones Whistler Bear Society.

"When you bait bears with food rewards there is never a happy ending."

The bear feeder is under investigation by police said RCMP Const. Carmen Magnusson, and could be charged under the Wildlife Act.

Another bear was trapped Wednesday but conservation officers determined that it was not one of the habituated bears and released it.

A trap remains near the Brio home to catch a second bear known to eat frequently at the house.

Julie Cummings lives close by.

"This is devastating," she said.

"I am such an animal lover and this is just terrible. The first bear that they put the trap out for he was around the trap for about 20 minutes and there were lots of us out on the streets watching and it was just so sad because we knew he was going to be killed."

Another neighbour who wanted to remain anonymous said she is frustrated.

"I’ve seen two, three bears sitting there, eating food," she said, pointing to the driveway across the street.

"I’m afraid to let my kids out of the house. I guess (the owner of the house) feels he owns the place, and can do what he wants."

Bryon Clarke, a staffer with Sabre, sees a number of bears through his workday.

"People are stupid for feeding them," he said. "But they feel sorry for them, and you know they’re starving (after hibernation)."

Problem bears in the Whistler area are trapped using bear aversion techniques, taken to the municipal yard by the local conservation officer, then kept in a cage, roughly the size of a large trailer.

It is current government policy to destroy all bears that have become accustomed to unnatural sources of food.

Techniques to scare bears away from residential areas include the use of rubber bullet slugs and screamers.

Magnusson adds that Whistler is the only B.C. community that employs Bear Smart tactics, to avoid these kinds of situations.


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