Grizzly bear in James White Park. Submitted photo

Grizzly shot on a property west of Fernie

On May 22, a female grizzly that had been relocated from Fernie made her way back to the community and was later shot by a resident in defence of property in a rural area west of Fernie.

Sgt. Denny Chretien, with the Conservation Officer Service, said officers arrived minutes after the homeowner shot and killed the bear, and conducted an investigation. He confirmed it was the second bear to be destroyed in the Elk Valley this year.

Chretien said staff had made several previous attempts to deter the bear from returning to the community using “banger” guns that set off loud noises and by firing rubber bullets to instill a fear of humans in the animal.

The collared bear was being monitored by the Conservation Officer Service, which determined she had become habituated to a human presence, he said.

“We monitored and hoped she wouldn’t get into trouble,” said Chretien. “But she tipped the pendulum over and got a bit too close to humans.”

Elk Valley residents should recognize they are living in bear country and take the necessary steps to manage attractants on their property, he said.

“With bears, it’s always food that leads them into trouble,” said Chretien. “If they don’t have a fear of humans, they’ll start getting into sheds and other structures when their stomachs take over.”

A statement issued by WildsafeBC said, “People need to have a better understanding and tolerance of wildlife and wildlife behaviour for us to peacefully coexist.”

Wildsafe said biologists are currently studying the way grizzly bears use the landscape in the Elk Valley and how they interact with people. They plan to have radio collars on a sample size of approximately 10 grizzly bears and monitor their activity.

The results of the study will be used to make suggestions on how to minimize human-wildlife conflicts.

Wildsafe suggested residents should keep garbage indoors and away from bears, clean up BBQs, bring in birdfeeders and use electric fencing to protect livestock.

For more information on wildlife safety visit Wildsafebc.com

To report wildlife-human interactions where public safety may be at risk, call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) at 1 (877) 952-7277.

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