The brown-coloured black bear, which was initially mistaken for a grizzly, was destroyed on Tuesday. Photo by Sharon Kelly

UPDATE: Notices, warnings issued after bear destroyed in Fernie

Two-year-old female bear euthanized after becoming human food conditioned, habituated

Thirty notices and three bylaw warnings have been issued to Fernie residents who left wildlife attractants outside, resulting in the death of a young black bear this week.

They could face a $575 fine as local authorities crack down on wildlife attractants in Fernie, which is experiencing heightened bear activity after several years of good berry crops.

On Thursday, WildSafeBC Community Coordinator Kathy Murray confirmed authorities were forced to euthanize a two-year-old female black bear on Tuesday.

The brown-coloured black bear was reported in the Park Lane and Airport area on Monday, and with its colouring, initially mistaken for a grizzly. It’s believed to be the same bear sighted on 5th and 6th Ave last week.

LOOK BACK: Black bear confused with grizzly, still in Park Lane area

Murray said the bear had a history of accessing garbage, causing property damage and tearing down bird feeders.

“It’s unfortunate that this bear had to be destroyed, it was causing a threat to human safety,” she told The Free Press Thursday.

“As long as the garbage and attractants are still there, other bears are going to come in. These people with their City of Fernie garbage cans that are sitting outside their garage, bring it in.”

Murray encouraged residents to report garbage or bird feeders left outside to the City of Fernie, emphasizing that this can be done anonymously.

“The reality is that Bylaw, the Conservation Officer Service (COS) and WildSafeBC, it is impossible for us to speak to every single person that is attracting dangerous wildlife,” she said.

“We are asking people to look around – if you see someone with their garbage out, accessible to wildlife, call it in. Go to the City of Fernie website, send a request for service, report them.

“Bylaw, they respond to complaints, if they have 100 complaints they will have to follow those up. Council will look at those numbers and determine yes, we have a problem, we have an issue, we need resources; that’s what it boils down to.”

WildSafeBC will soon install signage in the Ridgemont area after a bear and cubs were spotted between Save-On-Foods and the Ridgemont condos.

Murray said they have already tried to access a garbage can left outside by a resident on the night before collection.

Last year, the City of Fernie issued new garbage carts, which are wildlife resistant but not bear proof.

Under Waste Regulation Bylaw No. 1845, all carts, including recycling, must be stored indoors between collection days and not be placed on the street prior to 5 a.m. on collection day. Read more here.

Murray said that in recent years, the COS has destroyed only one or two bears a year, compared to over 30 bears in 2014.

She fears numbers will rise to 2014 levels if behaviours don’t change.

“If people don’t smarten up, it could be quite problematic for everyone, for people and wildlife,” she said. “Garbage is everybody’s responsibility, lock it up. People have to hold themselves accountable.”

For more information on how to bear-proof your home, visit Wildsafebc.com.

Earlier, The Free Press reported:

A brown-coloured black bear reported in Fernie has been destroyed.

On Thursday, WildSafeBC Community Coordinator Kathy Murray confirmed authorities were forced to euthanize the two-year-old female, which had been reported in the Park Lane and Airport area.

With its brown colouring, the bear was initially mistaken for a grizzly.

Murray said the bear had a history of accessing garbage, causing property damage and tearing down bird feeders, and was determined to be a threat to human safety.

“We (anyone with garbage left outdoors, bird feeders and other attractants) must hold ourselves personally responsible for contributing to the death of this bear and jeopardizing the safety of this community,” she said in a post on Thursday.

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