Humans' behaviour may change if they realized how many black bears are killed every year in B.C.: advocate
More than 500 black bears were killed in B.C. last year by conservation officers and one organization says the public needs to understand what happens to the animals when attractants encourage them to visit residential areas.
According to statistics shared throughout the year by the province, 504 black bears were recorded as being destroyed by the BC Conservation Officer Service in 2021. Another 84 were killed by other agencies or people, provincial statistics say.
"We recognize that putting down any bear is distressing news for many people - it is a distressing and emotionally draining situation for our officers as well," BCCOS said in a statement to CTV News.
"Putting down any bear is an unfortunate outcome that we work so hard to prevent."
Luci Cadman, executive director of the North Shore Black Bear Society, suggested the number of bears killed could actually be higher than reported.
"I think there are a lot of bears that we lose that are unaccounted for various reasons," Cadman told CTV News.
Cadman explained, for example, if a mother bear is killed, her cub might not be able to survive without her.
"Even one bear killed is too much for us," she said.
WHAT HAPPENS TO BEARS?
While Cadman doesn't discourage people from calling conservation – and certainly hopes people reach out to the North Shore Black Bear Society – she wants the public to be more aware of what happens to bears who may become accustomed to unnatural food sources.
Cadman said she thinks there are situations where the public isn't "getting the full picture," and may not realize how many bears aren't relocated.
"It really needs to be more clear with the public about what is happening to these animals because that's the only way anything's going to change," she said.
"If people are under the impression that bears are just taken away from the community and put back in the forest, there's no incentive for them to change their behaviour."
Provincial statistics show 19 bears were translocated in 2021. CTV News Vancouver is confirming if that number includes all bears that were moved any distance by conservation, and not just those moved to an entirely different region.
"Bears that are habituated to humans or conditioned to non-natural food sources are not candidates for relocation or rehabilitation, as the risk to public safety is simply far too great," BCCOS said in its statement.
Even if a bear is moved, that doesn't always solve the problem, Cadman said.
"When a bear's taken from a community, within days, another bear will fill that void," she said.
GARBAGE A TOP ATTRACTANT
BCCOS is aiming to educate the public on what brings bears to a residential community and said that in 2021, garbage was the most significant attractant noted in their bear conflict calls.
Data shared by the BCCOS to CTV News revealed nearly 70 per cent of those calls involved garbage as attractant. About 15 per cent involved fruit trees and berries. The remaining 15 per cent involved livestock, compost and bird feeders.
"We can do better. Please don’t give bears an opportunity to access unsecure attractants and create a risk to themselves and people," BCCOS said on social media.
"Conservation officers are dedicated to helping prevent bear conflicts in communities but we can’t do it alone."
Cadman thinks public education needs to go much further.
For example, Cadman said, her society learned last year that six bears on the North Shore were killed because they entered a confined space, which could include a home, garage, carport or shed.
"There is a trend typically over the summer for bears entering confined spaces, you know, people have their garages doors open, even having lower-level doors open, when it's hot," she said, adding that her society didn't realize this was a factor in so many conflicts with bears.
In one instance, which CTV News Vancouver reported last June, a bear entered a kitchen and was chased out by someone who was home. At the time, B.C. was experiencing a record-breaking heat wave, so it wasn't a surprise people had their doors open.
"Obviously with that heat it's very difficult for you to keep your door locked and closed. We totally understand that ventilation is needed, but what we're really asking the public to do is monitor any open access to your house if you live in bear country," BCCOS Sgt. Simon Gravel told CTV News last June.
Cadman said that bear was a mother with a young cub. When the mother was killed by conservation, attempts to find the cub were unsuccessful. Cadman said if it had been captured, an organization like Critter Care Wildlife Society would have helped rehabilitate it.
And as for outdoor spaces, Cadman said garages and sheds should be closed when they're left unattended, and all garbage should be secured.
"If people that had a garage stored their garbage and organics inside the garage until the morning of collection we would see a huge reduction in the amount of time the bears are spending in the community," she said.
"We'll always see them in the community and it's just about giving them space and making sure we're doing everything we can not to encourage them to stay."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's St. John Alexander
Vancouver Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Lifeline for woman with disabilities approved for medically assisted death after 'mind-blowing, inspiring' support
A 31-year-old disabled Toronto woman who was conditionally approved for a medically assisted death after a fruitless bid for safe housing says her life has been 'changed' by an outpouring of support after telling her story.
The police official blamed for not sending officers in more quickly to stop the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting is the chief of the school system's small police force, a unit dedicated ordinarily to building relationships with students and responding to the occasional fight.
Fifty-eight-year-old Vivian Ketchum is set to receive her high school diploma at a graduation ceremony at the University of Winnipeg next month. It is a moment that is decades in the making.
The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos was met with justifiable criticisms and unfounded conspiracy theories.
Federal Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown says calling social conservatives 'dinosaurs' in a book he wrote about his time in Ontario politics was 'the wrong terminology.'
Speakers at the National Rifle Association annual meeting assailed a Chicago gun ban that doesn't exist, ignored security upgrades at the Texas school where children were slaughtered and roundly distorted national gun and crime statistics as they pushed back against any tightening of gun laws.
An 11-year-old survivor of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas, feared the gunman would come back for her so she smeared herself in her friend's blood and played dead.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling allowing the Quebec City mosque shooter to be eligible for parole after 25 years is raising concern for more than a dozen similar cases.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says the federal government is working with groups on the ground to resolve air travel 'bottlenecks' in time for a busy summer.
B.C. speedboat driver arrested with 650kg of meth 'feared for his family's safety,' he told U.S. investigators
New details are emerging after a 51-year-old Alberta man was arrested aboard a speedboat that U.S. authorities say was carrying 650 kilograms of methamphetamine between Washington state and British Columbia.
The emergency department at Port McNeill Hospital unexpectedly shut down on Friday evening due to a staffing shortage.
At least one building was destroyed Friday afternoon as firefighters rushed to a large fire at the vacant Pioneer Square Mall in Mill Bay, B.C.
A southern Alberta man who killed three people, including a two-year-old girl, could have the ability to request a release from jail earlier than his original sentence intended, thanks to a landmark Supreme Court decision Friday.
Calgary Flames fans are still coming to terms with a playoff series loss to the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night in a game that saw both controversy and heartbreak following a Connor McDavid overtime goal.
Western Canada's premiers want to reform their health-care systems by expanding services but they say Ottawa first needs to pick up the phone.
A hotly-controversial decision on whether or not to freeze base funding for police in Edmonton was delayed Friday as fallout from a dispute between the mayor and the provincial justice minister continued to rattle political circles.
A 19-year-old man is in police custody after a shooting near Rogers Place after an Edmonton Oilers viewing party ended Thursday evening.
A shelter many expected to remain open until the end of June in Wetaskiwin, Alta., will close a month early.
WATCH | New video appears to show man carrying air rifle on Toronto streets before being killed by police
A man shot dead by police officers near a Toronto elementary school on Thursday afternoon appears to have been captured on home security footage carrying an air rifle moments before the incident.
A 21-year-old Toronto man is facing a slew of charges following a suspected hate-motivated incident at a Jewish school in North York.
Toronto Pearson International is warning travellers and Mississauga residents they may notice unusual activity at the airport this weekend.
Is it unconstitutional to make someone pay to get a legal document translated into French? One of Montreal's top lawyers thinks so, and pointed out two other things from Bill 96 that he thinks the courts would most easily find fault with.
Canada's highest court has ruled that Alexandre Bissonnette, who murdered six people at the Quebec City mosque in 2017, will be eligible for parole after 25 years.
Quebec says it is ready to vaccinate people who have come into close contact with monkeypox as soon as Friday.
Pembina Trails School Division is confirming to CTV News that a group of students found a body during community cleanup at Ècole South Pointe School.
Winnipeg police are telling people to find an alternate route this afternoon as they are investigating a fatal crash near the St. Boniface Industrial Park.
'It's one way to be creative': Winnipeg student wants to be a bartender when older; school doesn't like comment in yearbook
Bartender. That is what one Grade 4 student said for the yearbook when asked what he wanted to be when he grows up, an answer the school is asking him to change.
Barrett Ross says his dog Indy suffered a punctured bowel, lost a tooth and had his stomach injured when he was attacked by three other dogs.
The Saskatoon Tribal Council's (STC) temporary downtown shelter has been granted an extension to operate at its present location until April 2023 — but Tribal Chief Mark Arcand hopes to relocate well before then.
A pedestrian injured by a vehicle in Prince Albert has died.
Cyber security attacks happen every day, and as Regina Public Schools division discovered this week, no one is safe.
'Very upset': Senior housing residents plead for Sask. Housing Corporation to rebuild after winter fire
Former residents of a Carievale seniors housing complex want the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC) to reconsider its decision to demolish the home.
Premiers from western Canada met to discuss healthcare in their first face-to-face meeting in more than two years in Regina on Friday at the 2022 Western Premiers' Conference.
A Cape Breton father is warning the public of the dangers in the area he lives after his teenager son fell nearly 40 feet over a cliff in Glace Bay.
A lawyer for families of victims killed in the Nova Scotia mass shooting says an 18-hour delay in finding five bodies of those murdered is a sign of "deficient" policing.
The lawyer who represented a man who murdered three RCMP officers nearly eight years ago in Moncton, N.B., said a decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada Friday may potentially change his sentence.
Saturday’s powerful storm left a lasting impact across Ontario as city crews continue to deal with the damage. Western University’s Northern Tornado Project reported that two EF-1 tornadoes touched down in London — and on Friday, Environment Canada confirmed it.
A London man is facing impaired-related charges after a vehicle he was driving collided with a gravel truck on Wednesday morning, according to police.
The London Police Service is requesting the public’s help with locating a person of interest after a gun was fired on Richmond Row in the early morning hours of Friday.
Thursday evening, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce hosted the 25th annual Bell Business Excellence Awards.
On Friday, there was a walk in Sudbury to remember the remains of 215 residential schoolchildren found in Kamloops, B.C., a year ago May 27.
Staff at the new Sault Metis Centre are getting set for the grand opening Saturday.
A man, who was a referee at high school volleyball games in Guelph for more than 30 years, is facing sex assault-related charges.
The Region of Waterloo says there's a high safety risk at a Kitchener encampment and they are working with residents to prepare them for their eventual move.
Two low-cost airlines are butting heads over an agreement at the Region of Waterloo International Airport. Swoop wants to offer flights but the airport already has an exclusivity deal with rival Flair Airlines