The B.C. Conservation Officer Service was forced to destroy a bear that entered an Alta Vista home last week, raided the kitchen, and then returned later to try to break in again.
According to Sergeant Chris Doyle, the large male gained entry through an open front door on Tuesday, June 21 and proceeded to the kitchen. The owners were home and upstairs at the time.
The bear left but returned later, circling the house and looking for another way in.
"The concern is that once they get into a house and get that kind of food, the incident will repeat itself," said Doyle.
On Wednesday, the Conservation Officer located and destroyed the bear.
Another home had been broken into in Alta Visa several weeks before, but it's not known if it was the same bear.
There was also another report of a bear breaking into a home in another neighbourhood where a bear poked his/her head into the doorway of a house, and then quickly left. It was likely a different bear than the one killed in Alta Vista.
The dead bear was not tagged, which meant that it hadn't been caught or relocated in the past. It was also a large bear in the neighbourhood of 130 kg or 300 pounds.
It was the first time that the conservation office has had to destroy an animal this season, although it was far from the first bear death. One bear was killed on the highway last week just north of Squamish, and a sow and a cub were killed on the highway near Lions Bay in early June. On Sunday, a small bear was killed on the Highway 99 near Alta Vista.
Bears aren't the only animals drawing the conservation office's attention these days. On Thursday afternoon, June 23, a cougar was seen walking behind the Bear Ridge housing complex in Spring Creek. Another report, likely regarding the same animal, came in from Bayshores a little later that day. The RCMP attended to investigate, but there was no sign of the animal.
Cougars have also been spotted this year at a local golf course and in Lost Lake Park, but there have been no incidents.
As for the cougar that pounced on a mountain biker in the Crumpit Woods area of Squamish two weeks ago, knocking him from his bike, the conservation office has received word of additional sightings in the nearby Valleycliffe area and are continuing to monitor the area. There haven't been any other reports of aggressive activity, although the presence of cougars is an especial concern to families with young children. Parents should not leave children unattended or let them get too far away, and if a cougar is spotted then an adult should pick up the child.
The B.C. Ministry of the Environment has published guides for encounters with bears and cougars online at www.env.gov.bc.ca, under the Wildlife/Human Interaction link.