News » Whistler

Panorama Ridge resident to appear in provincial court for feeding bears.



Rico Suchy wept as he recalled the killing of two bears outside his Whistler home.

"They were my children," he said between sobs.

The bears were trapped and destroyed by conservation officers in July after numerous complaints about the boldness of the bears. In the last two years three other bears have been re-located from the area.

It is alleged the bear’s behaviour stems from being fed at Suchy’s Panorama Ridge home.

Rico and Lisa Suchy were charged this week under the Wildlife Act with feeding the bears and attracting them to their home.

If convicted they face up to six months in jail and a $50,000 fine, or both.

"I didn’t feed them," said Suchy, reached at his home Wednesday.

"They just sat around with me. You don’t have to feed bears to be nice to them.

"I know a lot more about bears than other people think. I am not going to make friends with something that might kill me.

"My bears have never done nothing to nobody. I am calling them my bears because they are on my property."

Suchy claims the bears passed through his property long before he bought it in 1987.

A ski run comes right into his backyard off Whistler Mountain and the bears use it all the time, he said.

They also make use of a fishpond out back to bathe themselves, an activity Suchy has always loved to watch.

He even watched the weaning of a cub in his front yard.

"I got a tree here right outside my house and (the mother) weaned him on this tree right in front of my balcony.

"Now this is his tree. There are claw marks on there for the last four years. He sits up there, he sits on my balcony, and he is a pet. You don’t touch him. You look at him. You have to have respect it is a bear. But they never done anything to anyone."

He is vowing to fight the charges in court saying the bears are not the problem. It’s the people who misunderstand them.

"…The bears are here anyway if you feed them or not," said Suchy.

"What bothers me is they say they are dangerous. They are puppies. You stand there and you look at them, you talk to them and they walk away and you say hello."

While Suchy denies feeding the bears he said some of his tenants might have done so.

He rents out part of his home to dozens of people who come to the resort to work for the ski season. He said he knows they don’t have much money so he used to get leftover bread from a local bakery and bring it home to his tenants to help out,

"Maybe somebody threw a loaf of bread out to the bears," said Suchy.

"I told them not to."

Said conservation officer Chris Doyle: "We conducted a fairly thorough investigation and the charges we have laid are based on the evidence we have collected."

The Suchys are to appear in provincial court in North Vancouver Oct 2.

While others have been ticketed under the Wildlife Act for feeding wild animals it is believed that this is the first case to go before the courts.