The week of Aug. 7 through 14 proved a deadly one for
Whistler’s bear population, as the B.C. Conservation Officer Service was forced
to kill four in seven days.
The first incident occurred Thursday, Aug. 7 at the Peter
Kiewit and Sons construction site near the Callaghan Valley. A female worker
entered an office building to find a large black bear rummaging through
garbage. The bear charged and swiped at the woman, leaving bruises and
scratches on her before leaving.
The bear later came back to the site while Conservation Officer
Drew Milne was still on location. Milne shot it after setting a trap for it.
The next incident took place on Aug. 10 in the lower Creekside
area. A small male yearling of about 90 pounds and in its “cinnamon phase,”
broke into a home in the neighbourhood at about 3 p.m. Milne described the bear
as “very food conditioned and very habituated.”
The next incident occurred on Aug. 11 in the Whistler Cay
Heights neighbourhood on Par Road. The bear in this situation was very well
known to conservation officers — nicknamed Fitz, he was a 300-pound black
bear about 20 years old.
“He broke into a house and RCMP were called,” Milne said. “RCMP
contacted me, I was on location, really close to the location so I pretty much
caught the bear red-handed.”
Fitz got into the house while a woman and child were home. He
got his hands on some food and then came back a second time, when Milne was on
scene. He shot the bear on the spot.
Fitz’s name had surfaced in connection with a series of home
invasions in 2007 but he was also believed to have broken into other houses in
the Whistler Cay Heights area this season.
The final incident took place Aug. 14 in the Bayshores area.
This one, named Brio, was an adult bear that weighed more than 200 pounds,
according to Milne.
Brio had broken into a house through a window on the evening of
Aug. 9 in the late evening — Milne could not specify a time. The bear
broke in while one person was sleeping in the house.
Brio made it into the kitchen and got his hands on some garbage
and some food in the fridge.
Another person came home while the bear was on location. The person startled the bear inside the house and the bear swatted him. The subject was caught on the side with light flesh wounds but he did not require stitches or any other extensive medical treatment.