A conservation officer was forced to kill a bear, the second in
two months, after it got into a home near Whistler Marketplace.
The incident occurred on July 20 at about 8:30 p.m. Occupants
of a townhouse in the Montebello neighbourhood near Blackcomb Way were not home
when a two-year-old, 75-pound male black bear broke into the house through the
back door, which had been left open save for a mesh covering.
The bear broke in and trashed the kitchen before the occupants
came home, according to Drew Milne with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
Once the occupants came home, the bear ran out through the
front door, but also ran out with some food and then stayed on the porch. The
occupants then closed the back door, a sliding glass door, and called the
Conservation Officer Service before the bear tried breaking through the window
“It actually ran into the window trying to get through,” Milne
The occupants tried scaring it away but the bear would not
“I arrived and the bear was still on scene when I got there,”
Milne said. “He wasn’t scared of us at all.”
The road behind the house was then blocked off before the bear
Milne said the bear had been in the area for most of the day.
Conservation officers had not tagged the bear before it was killed — it
is common practice for officers to tag bears when they are seen in residential
That could mean the bear in question was not seen in a
residential area before this incident. Traps are often set in various areas to
put tags on bears.
Milne said this is the third bear that the Conservation Officer
Service has had to destroy this year.
Another incident occurred on May 24 when a conservation officer
killed “Murray,” a tagged black bear, after it had twice attempted to enter a
house on Nesters Road a block north of Lorimer Road. Murray had previously
attempted to enter houses in November and December of 2007.
Milne, the only conservation officer working in Whistler, said
there have been numerous incidents in which bears have attempted to break into
houses, but he could not provide any specific statistic because he said there
are many incidents that go unreported by the public.
“This is probably the 11
one I’ve attended,” he
Milne said that more aversive conditioning has to be done for
bears — a tactic used to maintain a fear of humans in bears that can
include deterrents such as rubber bullets, foul-tasting chemicals and electric
shocks, according to the B.C. Ministry of Environment.
“That’s to try and prevent them from becoming habituated,”
Milne said. “Habituation is when they become used to humans and when they
become used to humans, that’s when problems will occur with bears.
“So if we get more calls about where the bears are, then we can
implement some (aversive) conditioning, and that will usually help stop home
Milne also said that the Brio neighbourhood has been a hotspot
for home invasions by bears. The culprit, however, was captured and destroyed.
He added that conservation officers will kill a bear if it has
been highly aggressive, including entering a home.
“Once a bear has broken into a house, we can’t have that sort
of risk,” Milne said. “Bears are very intelligent creatures, if they break into
a house once and are successful, they will continue to try and break into other
Anyone who witnesses a bear trying to enter a house is asked to report the incident at 1-877-952-7277.