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Prince George remains the deadliest community in B.C. for black bears

B.C.’s northern capital saw 31 black bears killed by conservation officers in 2022
Prince George has been named the deadliest city in B.C. for black bears in 2022. GETTY IMAGES

Prince George was the deadliest community in B.C. for black bears in 2022. That’s according to data obtained through a freedom of Information request and compiled by wildlife protection charity The Fur-Bearer.

They looked at information for nearly 400 communities across the province and ranked by the number of black bears killed by the BC Conservation Officer Service.

Five hundred black bears were killed by the BC Conservation Officer Service in 2022, a drop of 81 (or 14 percent) from 2021. Prince George, however, once again topped the list of the deadliest communities for the animal.

In Prince George, 32 black bears were killed in 2022, which is the most bears killed out of any city in the province with Nelson the next highest with 21 bears killed.

The city was also named the deadliest community for black bears in 2021 with 36 bears killed.

Between 2015 and 2022, Prince George recorded 263 bear deaths at the hands of conservation officers, more than double the number of government-sanctioned black bear killings in Terrace, the next closest community.

“Black bears are often killed when they begin accessing garbage and spend time in human-dense areas seeking unnatural food sources from unsecured attractants,” says Aaron Hofman, Director of Advocacy and Policy at The Fur-Bearers.

“By identifying communities where bears are killed with greater frequency, questions about systemic issues can be asked, and the killing can end.”

According to government statistics for 2022, the deadliest communities for black bears in British Columbia are:

Prince George: 32

Nelson: 21

Castlegar: 14

Okanagan Falls: 12

Revelstoke: 12

West Kelowna: 12

Nanaimo: 10

Port Alberni: 10

These eight areas account for 25 per cent of all black bears killed by conservation officers in 2022; but these communities are not specific to municipal boundaries because of how the BC COS records their incident reports. Between 2015-2022, BC COS officers have killed 4,279 black bears.