Bear euthanized after being spotted near elementary school
A small black bear spotted near an elementary school in Burnaby on Monday has been euthanized, conservation officers say.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service said the bear wandered into the area of Cascade Heights Elementary at around 3 p.m. The school wasn't put on lockdown, but authorities said there was a "shelter in place" order on the grounds until the animal could be located and removed from the area.
The juvenile male bear was found in a tree near Pine Street and Carlteon Avenue, and was tranquilized so it could be assessed.
COS said the bear had a "significant" history of sightings, and was habituated to unnatural food sources. The animal had also displayed abnormal behaviour including getting close to humans.
The bear didn't shy away from populated areas and therefore posed a risk to the public, Sgt. Todd Hunter told CTV News.
Officers recently collected nine reports of bear sightings in the area, the majority of which were likely the same bear, and involved a bear getting into household garbage.
They considered relocation, but because of the bear’s abnormal behaviour with people, and habituation to garbage, the decision was made to destroy the bear. Hunter added that the decision to euthanize the sub-adult was not a decision they made lightly.
Hunter said this spring has been busy for conservation officials, and many of their calls have been for bears in populated areas.
He said there's been an increase in calls because of weather patterns. A late start to spring weather means there aren't a lot of natural food sources right now, and there's a lot of competition among bears for what natural food there is.
Conservation officers are using the bear's death as a reminder for homeowners to lock up their garbage and not leave anything out. Anyone who sees a bear in the garbage or another human-supplied food source is asked to contact conservation officers at 1-877-952-7277.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Sheila Scott and Andrew Weichel