A bear was destroyed in Fernie on Monday, April 20 following several complaints over the weekend.
The bear in question, an approximately three-year-old male black bear, was first spotted in Ridgemont over the weekend before moving closer into town on Monday morning.
According to Conservation Officer Frank deBoon, the bear was in close proximity to young children at certain points during its roaming of the city.
“It was totally unafraid of people and feeding on garbage in different parts of the city over the last few days,” said deBoon. “It was a safety issue that we had to consider; we couldn’t let a garbage-oriented bear remain in town, especially when it’s in the downtown area in the day like that.”
deBoon added, “We don’t take it lightly to destroy bears but this is probably one that had been left over from the winter that got used to garbage and carried on its bad habits once spring came.”
In order to avoid future incidents, deBoon advised residents to clean up all attractants.
“This is early for bears to arrive in town, but it’s an earlier spring than other years. People think the bears are going to be waiting awhile but now is the time to do everything right. Clean up all the attractants including garbage, compost, bird feed, dog feed, anything that’s outside,” deBoon said.
The City of Fernie has bylaws in place regarding animal attractants and deBoon said that with the weather warming up he expects patrolling and fines to be handed out more actively soon.
deBoon further suggested that residents should be using garbage bins, not just bags for proper attractant and garbage management.
“It’s on the residents to take care of attractants and to be responsible for their own garbage bins. People need to use garbage bins, not just garbage bags as bags not only attract bears but also ravens, crows, skunks and other nuisance animals that spread the garbage around.”
deBoon said that this is the first bear that has had to be destroyed in the city this year and that the average euthanization of these animals has varied over the years depending on berry crops and other factors that would keep bears out of town.