News » Whistler

Bear destroyed after break-in

Young male bear pays the ultimate price for entering same home



The latest incident leading to the destruction of the second bear this season in Whistler is a story Sylvia Dolson has heard before — and doesn't want to hear again.

The executive director of the Get Bear Smart Society is encouraging Whistler residents to be vigilant about keeping doors and windows closed after a bear snuck into a home in the 6100-block of Eagle Drive in Whistler Cay on Sunday, Sept. 29.

"The one conclusion we can draw from this is that people must keep their doors and windows closed and locked," said Dolson.

It happened during an innocent chore that residents do all the time — carrying goods between the home and the car. Like most, the homeowner left her house door open as she carried the bags back and forth, a distance of just 20 metres.

Yet the bear was able to slip into the home completely undetected in less than 30 seconds.

"(Even) If you're ferrying groceries in from the car you still have to close the door behind you," said Dolson.

It wasn't the first time the bear had broken into that home. Soon after it left the care of its mother earlier this season it found its way in. Conservation officer Tim Schumacher said the young male was relocated following the incident in June, but returned to the resort.

There were some concerns about the success of the relocation since it had been shipped out of the resort in the summer of 2012 as a cub with its two siblings and its mother after the sow got into another home.

"They were accessing an unoccupied home, the resident wasn't home for five weeks," Schumacher said of the behaviour of the bear family in 2012. "Before that they were in White Gold where they (also) accessed a home."

Schumacher said a yearling bear is still fairly small at the time it separates from its mother, so the young guy wasn't deemed a safety risk after the initial break-in.

"This time when it went into the home it was much larger," said Schumacher. "It was not that much smaller than an adult bear. (Bears) put on a lot of weight over the summer and given that it was such a good year the bear was unrecognizable to me as the same bear."

According to Schumacher, things got tense because the bear was trapped inside the Whistler Cay home after the resident came back into the house after putting items in her vehicle.

"She came back in and saw the bear out of the corner of her eye in the kitchen," Schumacher said. "She was in the direct escape path of the bear. The bear came towards her, knocked her over and realized the door was closed."