By Alison Taylor
Another young black bear has been killed in Whistler and a young grizzly bear is entering campsites in the Upper Squamish as a result of poor garbage management.
Conservation officer Chris Doyle is advising people not to camp in the flood plain of the Squamish Valley this week after recent reports of close encounters with a young male grizzly bear.
“I would advise people not to camp in the floodplain of the Squamish Valley right now and if they are going there they just need to be extremely cautious of any food or garbage,” said Doyle.
“One bear has approached some fisherman and he’s been checking out campsites looking for food, improperly stored garbage and attractants.”
It is believed this is the same young male grizzly that got into trouble last year after finding garbage and food from illegal rave parties in the Upper Squamish. That bear was tagged and relocated last fall but returned within days.
There have also been reports of an older male grizzly and a sow with a cub in the area.
The news of the grizzly bear conflicts comes on the heels of another black bear shot and killed in Whistler after breaking into a home.
Thursday night (May 3) Councillor Eckhard Zeidler was awoken at 3 a.m. by his wife to the sound of an intruder in his Bayshores home. It was a black bear in his kitchen.
As he explained at Monday’s council meeting, Zeidler’s first concern was to ensure the bear had an escape route out of the house as he made noise to scare it away.
The following evening conservation officers set a trap in the driveway and the bear was caught. It was destroyed the following day.
“Once this kind of behaviour starts in terms of entering into buildings, it doesn’t stop and what we have to think about is what happens if a bear becomes trapped in a residence and there’s somebody else in there and there’s an injury or even worse,” said conservation officer Dave Jevons. “We certainly don’t take the decisions lightly as far as when we have to destroy an animal.”
The event also had an impact on the Zeidler family. Councillor Zeidler held up a picture of the three and half year old bear at the meeting. He was called Barley, aptly named after an earlier break in at the Brew House. He had a known conflict history in his short life with several break-ins to vehicles and other structures.
It was this history that ended his life, as there were no attractants at the Zeidler home to prompt the break in.
Barley is the second bear destroyed in Whistler this year. Nine bears were killed last year and there were more than 100 attempted or actual break and enters into residences said Jevons.
Zeidler appealed to the community to manage their garbage properly and warned that there will be a lot of black bear activity in the valley this spring as the bears wait for the snow pack to melt before moving back up the mountains in search of food.
To report bear incidents or any wildlife conflicts call 604-905 BEAR (2327) or 1-877-952-7277.