Conservation officers euthanized a bear in Lake Country Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. (Michael Penn - Juneau Empire file)

Conservation officers euthanized a bear in Lake Country Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. (Michael Penn - Juneau Empire file)

Bear shot in Lake Country due to ‘people problem’

Garbage ‘like crack cocaine’ to bears: Conservation Officer

A trash problem led to a bear being shot in Lake Country Thursday, Oct. 8.

The Conservation Officer Service (COS) has received numerous calls regarding bears accessing garbage, primarily in mobile home parks. One park, in particular, was having issues with a bear getting into a large centralized trash bin, which was not bear-restricted certified.

“This bear was known to us, we were trying to manage him,” Conservation officer Ken Owens said.

But since the bear had become addicted to the garbage and habituated to the area, the COS was forced to put it down in broad daylight at 2 p.m. Thursday.

“It’s just like crack cocaine,” Owens said of garbage to bears.

While the bear was causing issues, the real source is people not having their garbage secure, Owens insists.

“It’s not a bear problem, it’s a people problem.”

The owner of the mobile home park was issued an order to instate a bear-restricted certified trash container, and there is a $575 daily fine if they don’t comply.

“They are ordered to come into compliance so that bears don’t come into contact with garbage.”

READ MORE: ‘Fed bears are dead bears:’ Lake Country residents warned

But this is not an isolated incident.

“Each and every one of those mobile home parks is having the same problems,” Owens said.

Bears and people coexist in the Lake Country area, but the animals are currently more prevalent as they stock up for winter.

“This time of year they are trying to put on 20-30,000 calories per day.”

On top of an excessive amount of food needed, bears have a sense of smell that is 2,100 times that of a human to sniff out their meals.

The wafting scent of ripe fruit or garbage is easy for a bear to pick up on. But the latter, packed with glass, debris and sugars, is not a healthy option.

“Bears don’t have dentists, it’s just not good for them,” Owens said.

Once a bear gets a taste for garbage, it will always seek out more. Which is why COS is often forced to kill these bears.

“Relocation does not work, when these bears get into garbage they will travel thousands of miles to get to it.”

Which is why Owens urges people to ensure their trash is inaccessible to our furry foragers.

“Regrettably it’s just kind of a pattern that keeps on happening.”

The COS receives 20-30,000 bear calls in B.C. every year. Having been a CO for 30 years, Owens said a lot of those are easily avoidable.

“It all comes down to how we handle our waste and attractants.”

While the regional districts supply trash containers to residents, very few are actually bear-restricted certified. The containers also keep out dogs, raccoons and rats, which are more prevalent in the Okanagan.

A pilot project is underway in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country with some of these certified containers.

“We’re considerably behind the times in the Okanagan,” Owens said.

With 160,000 black bears and 17-20,000 grizzly bears in B.C., Owens urges residents to protect their livestock with bear electric fences.

He said he’s noticed there are a lot more backyard bees and backyard chickens in the area, but the fences are an effective and inexpensive way to protect them.

“It keeps you safe and keeps your livestock safe.”

READ MORE: Bears take the brunt of negative human behaviour in B.C.


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bearsGarbage

Just Posted

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

Enderby’s Small Axe Roadhouse was the subject of nasty backlash after installing two busty beer towers. (Facebook)
Enderby bar’s busty beer taps to stay put despite backlash

‘Many folks have mansplained to us that we are sexist, misogynistic…’

A petition was launched urging the District of Coldstream to consider adding a sidewalk to Aberdeen Road Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (Google Maps)
Aberdeen Road needs a sidewalk, says Coldstream resident

The district ran into a steep price tag and lack of land availability the last time they looked into the idea

Vernon resident David Melanson, 21, left the South Hills Tertiary Psychiatric Centre in Brocklehurst at about 1 a.m. on May 12, the day he was reported missing. (Contributed)
Body of missing Vernon man found in Kamloops Lake

David Melanson, 21, left psychiatric centre around 1 a.m. the day he was reported missing

Canadian author Paul Young, who wrote the critically acclaimed novel, the Shack, will join Vernon-based foundation, the Emily Dahl Foundation, for a Fireside Chat event in June 2021. (YouTube)
Acclaimed author to talk mental health at Vernon event

Paul Young, author of bestselling book The Shack, to join Emily Dahl Foundation for Fireside Chat June 8

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vikki and Don Holmberg with their three children Marshall, Ava and oldest Lexi who now lives on her own. The Penticton family is facing the prospect of homelessness after their rental home was sold, leading them to ask the community for help. (Contributed)
‘There’s just nothing’: housing crunch puts Okanagan family on the brink of homelessness

Housing crisis something many in the Okanagan can likely relate to, says mother of three

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Most Read