Bear, old and emaciated, put down

A bear that was thought to have been relocated after being removed from a tree in a local park, was actually euthanized.

A bear that was thought to have been relocated after being removed from a tree in a local park, was actually euthanized.

Last Wednesday, Conservation Officer Kyle Ackles responded to the call in Townsend Park, with the help of RCMP and Chilliwack firefighters. The bear was tranquilized in the tree and removed with the help of the fire department’s skills, and their equipment such as ropes and ladders.

The small size of the bear led many to believe that it was a young bear. However, when Ackles examined the bear, he found that it was an aging bear who had become emaciated.

“It was starving to death,” Ackles said. “We will do short distance relocation, or, if it’s the humane thing to do, we will euthanize the animal.”

He said it was a small but older bear, who was almost down to the bones.

“You could feel its hips and shoulders,” he said. “It was in very, very poor health.”

Relocating the bear wouldn’t have made sense, since it would probably continue to starve to death. He said it probably made its way into the park looking for an easy food source.

Bears are just waking up from their dens right now, Ackles said, and he said residents need to be vigilant in making sure their garbage isn’t an attractant to bears and other wildlife.

This is possible by using bear proof garbage cans, by storing garbage cans in out buildings until as close to pick up time as possible, and by keeping highly perishable foods in the freezer until garbage day.