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Whistler village bear removed for last time

Residents urged to ensure garbage bins are properly closed



A bear that just wouldn't stay clear of the village was permanently dealt with Wednesday.

The village-addicted animal was in a tree late in the morning. Conservation officer Tim Schumacher said the male bear had been previously relocated six times. He said the young animal was at least four years of age and had been relocated three times previously this year alone. This particular bruin was also relocated once each year dating back to 2009.

"He just wasn't going to stay away," said Schumacher after reluctantly destroying the bear. "We tried to take him north of town, south of town."

According to Schumacher, the bear must have had a food reward in the village at some point.

The drama played out Wednesday morning at the gondola end of Village Stroll. Schumacher said the bear was in a tree when he arrived on the scene. RCMP and municipal bylaw officers were controlling crowds while an attempt was made to use an aerial man-lift to tranquilize the bear and bring it to the ground. That didn't work. Schumaker said the bear opted to climb a second tree. The animal was tranquilized and it fell to soft ground at the base of the tree.

"Unfortunately, given the circumstances it had to be destroyed," said Schumacher.

Meanwhile, the conservation officer said there has been significant bear action at the transfer stations in Function Junction and Nesters. Doors are being left open and he said bears are getting into the various bins at the collection depots.

"They (bears) are consistently getting food rewards from the transfer sites," said Schumacher.

He added that people have opened the compactors and been surprised to find a bear inside.

"Doors being left open at the transfer stations are a significant challenge," said the conservation officer.

Schumacher stressed that bears are only put down when they become a significant safety risk and it is usually human behaviour and poor waste management habits that lead to conflicts between bears and humans.

Schumacher encouraged all bear conflicts to be reported to the Conservation Officer Service by calling 1 (800) 952-7277.

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