A juvenile grizzly bear was destroyed by conservation officers in Sparwood on Sept. 12. The bear resisted being trapped and made return trips to town over several days. Conservation Officer Jeff Piwek said bear showed up in Sparwood around July 30.
“It was accessing garbage and getting into attractants,” he said. “It was getting into cans and getting into fewer cans than it was knocking over. We made attempts to trap this bear. Over the period from July 30 to Sept. 12 we had culvert traps set in multiple locations for pretty much the entirety of it.”
Piwek said the bear came very close to the traps, but never entered. The bruin then started trying to enter peoples’ homes.
“There was one incident where it was reported that it put its head through a dog door,” he explained.
“It wasn’t trying to eat people, the person described it as a sense of curiosity. The bear was trying to sort out where it could find food. So it’s not like a viscous creature that was trying to tare down the door and get inside. It was willing to put itself into unfamiliar circumstances in order to find food. It was a safety concern at that level.”
Conservation officers eventually caught up with the grizzly.
“Because of the safety risk involved, and the length of time it had been there, and the amount of time that it had been accessing garbage, was the reason that we ultimately made the decision to destroy it,” explained Piwek. “We recommend that people don’t keep garbage in their containers if they can avoid it, or take their garbage to a dumpster or to a transfer station if possible.”
Piwek has more bear safety advice.
“They are making the right choices to have bear resistant containers and encouraging residents to keep bear attractants in a shed or garage or a secure container,” he said. “If there was access to stronger dumpsters, or larger metal containers that have better locking mechanisms within town where people could throw garbage on their way to work, or in their daily routine, rather than having to get to a landfill within those hours, creates an opportunity where people can get rid of those smelly attractants.”