A black bear sow and her two cubs were destroyed last weekend in Williams Lake near Eleventh and Twelfth Avenue. Their demise came a few days after three other bears met the same fate.
The sow was killed first around 3 a.m. Saturday and the cubs later at around 4 p.m., said Sgt. Len Butler of the Conservation Officer Services Monday.
Many residents in the neighbourhood heard the cubs crying throughout the day. Some watched the cubs come frantically running into their yards, most likely confused and looking for their mom.
“A trap had been set, and officers had been going to the area because several complaints were coming in,” Butler said. “Officers and the WildSafeBC co-ordinator were trying to get people to clean up their yards, but the bears became so habituated that they didn’t stand a chance.”
Since news of the bears being destroyed has surfaced the COS has received some negative feedback from people calling in, Butler said.
“People can vent on the CO service all they want, but the reality is that people will not change their habits and bears are going to die. We don’t move black bears because the science and experience say it’s wrong, so what are we going to do?”
Butler said COs took a drive Saturday and couldn’t believe how much unpicked and dumped fruit there was in back alleys.
“In Quesnel it’s getting to a point where we may have to advise that we are going to start issuing fines to people not cleaning their attractants,” Butler said, adding there isn’t any other recourse. “Why would the bears leave?”
Additionally the neighourhood is home to dozens of large crabapple trees planted in the 1970s by the city along the edge of properties being newly developed at a time when that type of tree was approved.
When asked if the city might consider removing the trees because they are a bear attractant, the city’s communications co-ordinator Ken MacInnis said the city only removes dead or dangerous trees about to fall down.
And when it comes to removing the fruit the onus is on the property owner, MacInnis confirmed.
Around 20 bear complaints a day are coming in to the (Report all Poachers and Pollutors) RAPP line for the Williams Lake and 150 Mile House areas, Butler confirmed saying he was away all last week dealing with grizzly bears in downtown Bella Coola that officers managed to chase out to the river.