A bear spotted several times near Elk Lake on Tuesday morning will likely be euthanized if B.C. Conservation Service members locate it as it’s too habituated to human food sources.
Early on Oct. 20, Saanich police received a call about a bear near the “Welcome to Greater Victoria” sign on Elk Lake Drive, said Const. Markus Anastasiades. Moments later, a second report came in about a bear spotted a few blocks from the sign.
Saanich police and officers with B.C. Conservation Service went out to search in the morning and additional sightings were reported but the bear is still on the lam.
The sightings come after a llama was killed on Monday on a property in the 4700-block of West Saanich Road. Officers saw a bear run off and were unable to locate it. At the time, officials warned that the bear was not afraid of humans and may return to the area.
— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) October 20, 2020
On Tuesday afternoon, Sgt. Scott Norris with the Conservation Service said the bear was spotted several more times through the morning and that he’d lost track of it near Santa Clara Avenue around 12:30 p.m.
According to Norris, if the bear is spotted again it will “most likely” be euthanized as, based on its behaviour, it’s too accustomed to humans and garbage.
Euthanizing animals is the “worst part of our job” but bears that eat garbage can’t be relocated, he explained. They “lose their fear of people” and will continue to seek out the unhealthy but consistent food source.
Keeping bears “wild and safe” is the public’s responsibility, Norris said, adding that it’s against the law to leave out attractants and allow bears to get into garbage bins. All refuse should be locked up and only put out on collection day.
Norris emphasized that the bear is still in the area and residents should be on alert, lock up attractants and ensure that livestock and pets are safe.
Anyone who spots a bear was asked to contact the Saanich Police Department at 250-475-4321 or B.C. Conservation Service at 1-877-952-RAPP or texting #7277 on a cell phone.