Conservation officers shot a female black bear and her two cubs in Sparwood on Monday after continued disturbance in the district.
The bears had been monitored moving around Sparwood for three to four weeks, according to Conservation Officer Frank deBoon.
“If they’re getting food like garbage and fruit and no harm comes to them, they gradually ignore people and they get to a point where they’re dangerous,” explained deBoon.
The bears were observed across the street from the Frank J. Mitchell Elementary school and were seen there until the bell rang and schoolchildren began to leave classes, according to deBoon.
“It was right where everyone was dropping off their kids and they were in an area where there were houses and lots of people. We had to weigh out the good of the people and the good of the bears,” said deBoon.
The bears were also spotted on Pine Avenue eating from apple trees and in Sparwood Heights wandering onto resident’s decks and putting their paws up on local’s windows prior to being spotted at the school.
deBoon continued to advise residents and the district about wildlife safety and properly securing garbage and food sources as well as managing fruit trees.
“It’s a people problem,” said deBoon. “People need to make bears uncomfortable. If a bear shows up in your yard, it’s not a good idea to take pictures and condition that bear to be okay with people. Throw rocks and yell at them so they get the picture that they’re not wanted in that area.”
WildSafeBC Community Coordinator Kathy Murray agrees.
“This is a harsh reminder to residents that these situations are entirely preventable,” said Murray, “and it’s everyone’s responsibility that we’re not baiting wildlife into our communities and backyards.