News

Fed bear becomes dead bear in Chilliwack

A garbage-habituated bear at a Chilliwack-area trailer park has to be destroyed.

A conservation officer had already been dispatched to the Cultus Lake Village mobile home park, and was due to arrive, when a resident's call came in to The Progress.

Mobile home owner Virginia Bast wanted to know why a bear was still languishing in the trap —a day after it was caught.

"No one has come to pick up the bear," she said. "When the the sun hits that trap this afternoon, it will heat up quickly and it has no water."

The bear had reportedly been locked in the trap since 10 p.m. the night before.

"Yes, there is a bear in the trap and we've got an officer en route," confirmed Steve Jacobi, of the Conservation Officer Service, in charge of the Fraser Valley zone, a bit before the noon hour.

Leaving the animal in the trap "overnight is very normal," he said. "But it's not that common for them to be left until noon. It's a little late because we had to bring another officer in."

There are five conservation officers in this zone, working out of two offices.

"This bear has to be destroyed," he said. "It's unfortunate that it became habituated to garbage and now has become a threat to public safety."

The bear isn't scared away by the presence of humans, and that becomes a concern.

"They can become protective of a food source like garbage, and then they're more dangerous."

A fed bear is a dead bear?

"You could say that," Jacobi agreed.

Conservation officers will be working with the trailer park management to clean up the garbage and waste management situation, and prevent wildlife conflicts.

"Garbage is the biggest problem when it comes to bears," he said.

Residents can take simple preventative steps like removing pet food, compost, or bird feeders from their backyards, and securing garbage.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

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