Conservation Officers killed three more black bears in Whistler last week, bringing the summer total to six.
A mother and cub were shot in Whistler Cay on Thursday, July 12 th , and an older female was killed in Function Junction the previous day.
The two at Whistler Cay had already broken into about six residences when Conservation Officers received a call Thursday mid-afternoon reporting a break in.
“From what I gather before I got there, the sow and cub were eating food from the kitchen in the back of the house,” said Conservation Officer Dave Jeavons.
“Then the sow — with or without the cub, I don’t know for sure — entered the house, and when she exited, she was shot,” he said.
The RCMP also attended the scene and by the time Jeavons arrived, the sow was dead. He then shot the cub, who had climbed up a tree.
“There are a lot of factors to consider with how to handle cubs. This particular cub was a conflict animal, whereas cubs that have been abandoned are usually the ones put into rehab institutes like Critter Care,” said Jeavons.
He added that he does not think he could have tranquilized the cub without killing it because of its position in the tree.
“It is always unfortunate when this happens. It is not something you ever want to do. But you have to keep in mind that it is our responsibility to protect public safety,” said Jeavons.
He explained that the cub had learned a lot of aggressive behaviour from its mother. Both had an extensive history of entering residences and approaching people.
“It is extremely unusual for a cub to not have that fear of humans. The behaviour was inappropriate. The sow and cub were both very habituated to people and very conditioned to garbage,” said Jeavons.
The female bear killed in Function Junction this week also had a history of aggressive behavior.
In particular, the 20-year-old female had broken into five businesses in the area, bluff charged people on trails, and on one occasion, not allowed people back into their cars.
Last month, based on her aggressive behaviour, Conservation Officers tagged her with two pink ear tags and gave her a hard release.
“When we got the call on Wednesday, she was breaking into a vehicle, and you could actually hear the glass breaking in the background over the phone,” said Jeavons.
After breaking into the car, the bear charged someone in Function and was later found on the trail. Jeavons said that based on her level of aggression and number of entries, she was destroyed.
According to Jeavons, the three bears killed last week accounted for a large percentage of the calls received by Conservation Officers in the past month.
“I would imagine that there should be less calls. But the berry crop will determine a lot of that too. If it is not a good berry year, chances are there will be more bears seen looking for garbage,” he said.
He added that three bears killed in one week is unusual, but probably has to do with the fact that it is the time of year when things get busier with bears.
Prior to last week, Conservation Officers had shot and killed three black bears in the Whistler area this season for coming into conflict situations with humans. One bear was involved in a motor vehicle accident, and the other two were responsible for break ins.
A total of nine bears were killed last year.
To report a black bear incident where public safety is at risk, please call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.