A West Shore conservation officer has issued one last plea for the public’s help in saving two bears living in the Skirt Mountain area from being euthanized.
“There’s a sow with a cub … that have not gone into hibernation,” said regional conservation officer Peter Pauwels. While the pair should be hunkered down in their den by now, he said the seemingly endless supply of garbage has kept them active. “It’s pretty easy pickings,” he added.
With hundreds of homes in the Bear Mountain area storing their garbage outside, Pauwels said “We’re looking for the public’s assistance to limit their access to food … People are going to have to learn to live with them or they’ll have to be put down.”
Since the bears are relying on garbage as a food source and have demonstrated habitual tendencies, Pauwels noted the bears will not be candidates for relocation if they are deemed to be a threat to humans. He added the circumstances for relocating bears is quite difficult and because of the time of year it can’t be done anyways.
“Very few people, from what I can tell, are storing their (garbage) containers inside,” he said. While a few residents have tried to secure the containers with a strap or a rock, but Pauwels said, “none of that is good enough.”
He noted that if containers are not stored inside a secured building such as a garage or shed, they need to be proper bear-proof containers. “There’s very few of those out there … bungee cords or rocks aren’t going to stop a bear.”
While there are legal ramifications under the Wildlife Act that prohibit the public from attracting wildlife, Pauwels said there’s just too many offenders in the area. He estimates hundreds of homes are not in compliance with the Act.
“I think most people would be surprised to know there’s bears in the area … (but) on Bear Mountain you are in bear country,” he said. “People have to manage their garbage, there’s no way around it.”