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Habituated bear euthanized in West Kelowna

(via YouTube)

A black bear has been euthanized after making itself at home in West Kelowna for the last week or more.

Ken Owens with the BC Conservation Officer Service confirms members "did tranquilize a large black bear boar in the Casa Rio Park area of West Kelowna. We did remove it off-site and euthanize it. Because of the bear's behaviours and actions, it was posing a serious threat to public safety."

A large black bear was spotted walking down Campbell Road last Thursday and Owens says this particular bear had become habituated to humans and lost its fear of people. Photos sent to Castanet show the bear strolling by garbage bins and foraging in people's yards.

"Getting that food source next to residences, they don't forget that, and they continue to come back to that. It's really important for people to do all they can to prevent bears from accessing attractants in the backyard because it generally leads to bears being euthanized."

Don Drissell lives in the area and tells Castanet: "We had another sighting of a black bear that has been in our area for the past week foraging for berries in the residential area. It was down by a community park and beach area this afternoon and seemed to have no concerns or issues with humans or pets."

Drissell says RCMP and conservation officers were alerted. One of the photos sent to Castanet shows the bear down and officers working to move it.
Drissell expressed his remorse that the bear was euthanized.

"I realize public safety is paramount and no one wants to see a child or person injured by this bear, but what is wrong in removing it to a remote location far from this current habitat and tracking the bear on GPS to see where it goes? The bear is doing what is natural to its environment. We have built up our residences in their habitat over the years."

However, Owens says relocation is generally not successful because the bears are capable of travelling hundreds of kilometres to return to their territories.

"Many people don't get that message, and it ends up with bears jeopardizing public safety and being euthanized," he says.

— Rob Gibson, Castanet