Conservation Officers Destroy Bear in Squamish

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: May 29, 2012

A bear had to be destroyed in Squamish last week because of “careless home owners,” according to a media release by the local conservation office.

The first bear of the season had to be destroyed because a home owner left their door wide open on two separate occasions, which allowed the bear to enter the home and get food.

The potential food source changed the behaviour of the bear and created a risk for the public, said Sgt. Peter Busink.

“We are very disappointed that some Squamish residents still do not understand that their actions ultimately caused a bear to be destroyed,” Busink said.  

Busink didn’t specify the location or the neighbourhood where the bear had to be destroyed. 

Conservation officers also issued two dangerous wildlife protection orders to two local businesses for failing to secure bear attractants.  

A dangerous wildlife protection order is a lawful order to clean up or secure attractants by a specific date and time.  Failure to comply with a DWPO is $575 fine under the BC Wildlife Act.

Busink said he requests all residents to take responsibility and make sure that all attractants are secured.  

“The bears are out and they are hungry,” he added.

People who do not secure their attractants could face a fine under the BC Provincial Wildlife Act, anywhere from $230 to $345.


  1. nick says:

    It is Ironic that ths artical is filed under a masthead advert for a local store’s fresh fruit and vegetables, If close attention is not paid to the activities and growing power of the conservation office, this may well be your only source for fresh food.
    I take issue with a conservation officers ability to determine what constitutes an attractant.Why is an officer able to fine someone for leaving a door open in their own home? Are tha great bear ese officers paid tax dollars to protect us or protect the bears?
    It is illegal to plant fruit trees in whistler, And now the wheels are coming off the global warming scam, the under employed members of the Squamish climate action network have taken it on themselves to map out locations of citizens growing pefectly legal fruit trees. I can only assume this is to aid in the eventual location and destruction of all fruit bearing trees as it can have little or no negative effect on climate .I grow fruit and vegetables on a seasonal basis and will continue to do so. I also pay taxes and expect local government to deal with the obvious over population of bears as self defense has been rendered illegal
    There was a time that bears, both black and Grizzly, were rare sights in residential areas.And relocation when needed was sucessfull. this is no longer the case as the woods are at their carrying capacity and food productive logged off areas grow in and stop providing grasses,berries and small rodents.Relocated animals are forced back into urban areas were there is available territory
    It is time to start a limited hunting season to reduce the population of black bears in particular. In the mean time we should all insist government return to providing the best possible infrastructure. when that is acomplished we can debate limitiong citizen’s rights to grow food and spending tax money on disney-esque protection of potentialy dangerous wildlife.

  2. Cheryl says:

    The conservation officer’s report regarding the home owners leaving a door open, two days in a row while they were away, was incorrect.

    Yes, a back door was left open one day.With children in the house, it is something that happens. The next day, the bear came into the house WHILE THE PEOPLE WERE AT HOME. There were children running around making noise, and the parents also busy around the house. It was a three year old who saw the bear coming in through the sliding glass doors and told his mother.

    This particular bear had been chased away several times from this home and was seen lying in a yard in Garibaldi Highlands, totally ignoring a workman who was up and down a ladder in the near vicinity. He had no fear of people and was already habituated to being around them.

    With warm days people have their doors open. It is the “natural” way to cool our homes and to enjoy the good weather. Are we to be kept closeted in our homes so the bears can roam freely around our yards?

    People in this town are being more “bear aware” and trying to do things in a manner not to attract them. Even with this, it appears we are having to kill more bears every year. Is it because the bear population is growing? The boundaries of Squamish and the communities around it have not expanded to such an extent as to seriously affect the bear habitat and force them to come into human space. Most of the growth has been what they call in-filling, filling in the empty spaces.

    The bears have a right to live. We also have a right to live and to enjoy our homes and our yards without fear of bears.

  3. Krystle tenBrink says:

    Great to see people commenting on this very important issue as humans and bears learn to co-exist together. I have been the coordinator of the Squamish fruit tree project for two seasons with the third just getting started. Squamish CAN partnered with Meg Toom from Bear Aware who ran the program previous. The purpose of the program is to educate homeowners that fruit trees are an attractant for bears and they need to be responsible and pick their fruit to minimize bear and human interactions, which will help contribute to a positive co-existence between the two. In a worst case scenario people neglect to pick the fruit harvest then we get called to come deal with it. We arrange a group of volunteers that come and work very hard for a few hours to hall out equipment pick the harvest and clean up the compost. You can imagine although doing good and helping out a neighbour this is labor intensive and completely avoidable. When we have to help out someone that has not been able to pick their fruit for whatever reason we stress the importance of preventative actions such as prunning pre season, spraying off blossoms cutting the tree down and planting a dwarf fruit tree to replace the large on and will be manageable. Almost all of the fruit picked goes to non profits such as the helping hands society, and the high school cooking programs. As the program is greatly appreciated by so many homeowners, non profits etc. I cannot stress the importance of education towards preventing conflict between people and bears. We have the tools and knowledge to help us avoid wildlife conflict. I encourage anyone to contact myself or Meg Toom with Bear Aware for further questions. Thanks Krystle.

  4. Brad says:

    I have to say there tends to be a ‘guilty until proven guilty’ thing with conservation and other groups. We do need to account for the fact that all human beings are prone to error. Sometimes we forget to lock a bin, sometimes we forget to close a door. That cannot be eliminated entirely. Our neighbourhood does a bang up job on that score and we still have bears here *every* night and sometimes during the day. It gets a bit frustrating not being able to go outside without fear of running into one of them in your front or backyard. Maybe attractant reduction isn’t the only strategy we should be using.

    • Meg Toom says:

      Thanks to Krystle for clarifying the purpose of the fruit picking program. The mapping of fruit trees is to aid in the collection of the fruit and not to “aid in the eventual location and destruction of all fruit bearing trees” as stated by Nick in a previous post. The Bear Aware Program’s mandate is to reduce human-bear conflict through eduction, cooperation and innovation…starting a fruit picking program back in 2005 was an innovative approach to removing fruit from the bears thereby keeping them out of our neighbourhoods and giving the fruit back to those in need within the community. Managing attractants reduces human-bear conflicts. Destroying or relocating a bear, while sometimes necessary, is a band aid solution…by removing a bear from the population, a spot is opened for another bear to enter and a revolving door affect occurs. Managing the attractant that is bringing them into the community, is the solution. To address Cheryl’s comment “People in this town are being more “bear aware” and trying to do things in a manner not to attract them. Even with this, it appears we are having to kill more bears every year”. Some stats: 1 bear was destroyed in 2011, 6 in 2010, 4 in 2009…and this bear in Brackendale is the first for 2012. Squamish is a Bear Smart certified community and we are setting the standard for many communities across BC on how to reduce human-bear conflicts. Please feel free to contact me.

  5. Brad says:

    Meg I have to ask this. Is there a possibility that bear interactions are up because the population of bears has simply gone up? Where are the numbers on these things? In passing conversation with a lot of long time residents, many comment that the last few years have been particularly active and they speculate it has less to do with deforestation and food supply and more to do with ‘overpopulation’. I am all for co-habitation, but not so much for having to stay indoors in the evening from April until December. It really feels like it’s been like that the last two years.