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Bear troubles continue

Two bears destroyed, two relocated in the last week

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Two more bears were destroyed last week – one after being found with a broken leg and a bullet wound – bringing the total number of bears destroyed this summer to six.

The latest incident took place on Tuesday, July 20, when RCMP officers responded to a bear sighting by residents on Rainbow Drive in Alpine Meadows. Officers noticed that the bear was suffering from a broken front leg and decided that the appropriate course of action was to put the animal down.

Upon further examination of the bear officers discovered that it had recently been shot in the shoulder with what appeared to be a bullet from a high powered rifle.

Conservation officer Dennis Pemble said that it was hard to say why the bear had been shot or by whom. He encourages anyone who knows anything about the shooting to contact the RCMP.

In the second incident conservation officer Chris Doyle notified the Jennifer Jones Whistler Bear Society that a decision had been made together with B.C. Parks to destroy an immature female bear in the Cheakamus Lake area on July 17.

The bear was destroyed due to its aggressive behavior with hikers and campers in the backcountry.

In response to the incident Sylvia Dolson of the JJ Whistler Bear Society commented that people should be aware of the difference between bear assertiveness and bear aggression.

"Assertive bear behavior is when a bear finds you in its personal space and is trying to get you out," Dolson explained.

Assertive bear behavior can include "hussing" (expelling air loudly), clacking teeth, slapping the ground, stepping or lunging toward a person or even bluff charging.

"The motivation of this behavior is not to hurt the person," Dolson noted.

"It’s just to get the person out of their space. It seems scary, but it’s supposed to be… It’s the same way a bear would communicate with other bears."

Two more bears were also relocated this week, both caught in traps near the Jade Restaurant in the Twin Lakes area. The immature male bears had attempted to enter the restaurant’s kitchen.

The first bear was caught on Sunday, July 18, and relocated to the Upper Squamish Valley. The second was caught on Tuesday, July 20, and relocated to the Meager Creek area.

In light of these incidents Dolson would like to remind Whistler residents to remain diligent in limiting bear attractants. She warned that the municipality is moving toward a zero-tolerance policy with "problem people behaviour." As a result, garbage disposal bylaws will be more strictly enforced.

Dolson also mentioned that hummingbird season is over and any feeders that are still up should be taken down.

"Hummingbird feeders will only attract bears at this point," she commented.

To report bear-related incidents, call 604-905-BEAR (2327) or the Conservation Officer Service at 1-800-663-9453. For more information about preventing bear-human conflict visit www.bearsmart.com

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