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Bear accidentally destroyed

RCMP intended to use rubber bullet

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A large cinnamon bear was destroyed on the night of July 13 when Whistler/Pemberton RCMP accidentally fired a polycore bullet at the animal rather than the intended rubber bullet.

The RCMP were attempting to follow Bear Aversion program guidelines when responding to the sighting near Lorimer Road and Blackcomb Way.

The bear had been identified as the one that was likely responsible for a break in to a local residence on July 12.

In a press release the RCMP noted that a thorough review is underway within the Whistler/Pemberton RCMP to ensure that all RCMP members are briefed on the Bear Aversion program and the policies therein. The RCMP also reaffirmed their commitment to the Bear Aversion program and to its partnership with the local community and the Jennifer Jones Whistler Bear Society.

Sylvia Dolson, executive director of the Jennifer Jones Whistler Bear Society, released a statement Wednesday.

"The Whistler Bear Society will continue to work in partnership with the RCMP to ensure that human-bear conflicts are mitigated with least lethal means. Clearly, this is a tragic incident. Like the RCMP, we too are devastated by what happened.

"We will continue to work with the RCMP to ensure safer procedures and tighter protocols. As a community, we must come together to keep bears out of harms way and strengthen our commitment to completely eliminate all attractants from human-use areas. If that means picking up garbage scraps in the pedestrian village, then do it! If that means talking to your neighbour about taking their birdfeeder in, then do it! Bears don’t end up in our backyards or the village because they enjoy our company, they are looking for one thing and that’s food. They have learned to tolerate people to access anything edible in human-use areas. We are all responsible for our bear’s welfare. The bears need your help! Please do your part."

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