By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Oct. 15, 2012
The conservation officer service has been forced to destroy 12 bears within the Squamish area since May.
This is a marked increase from 2011, when just one bear was destroyed.
This is the highest number of bear destructions since the District of Squamish initiated the Bear Aware Program in 2004, when 27 bears were destroyed.
Despite being a Bear Smart certified community, Squamish is experiencing a busy bear activity year, with unfortunate consequences, said Meg Toom, the Bear Aware coordinator.
“This is a very challenging year,” Toom said.
She said a wet spring and unseasonably dry weather during the late summer and fall has negatively affected the alpine berry crop forcing many bears to forage for food.
Once a bear no longer feels threatened and becomes habituated to human activity and conditioned to non-natural food, the potential for human-bear conflict increases.
“Bears will spend the next six to eight weeks looking for much needed calories to see them through their winter hibernation,” Toom said.
“We cannot become complacent and allow bears to feel welcome in our neighbourhoods. They must be encouraged to move on, for their own survival and for our safety.”