A bear and two cubs found in central Nanaimo were put down because they were habituated to garbage, according to B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
Conservation officers and Nanaimo RCMP were on scene at Moyse Crescent the afternoon of Saturday, May 28, where the bears were found in the backyard of a residence. Sgt. Stuart Bates, B.C. Conservation Officer Service spokesperson, said there were approximately 50 reports of the bears accessing garbage, and euthanization wasn’t a decision taken lightly.
“The officers tranquilized them, consulted with the provincial wildlife vet [who] said, ‘no, if they’re as habituated as they are and the body condition wasn’t great, then euthanize them…” Bates said. “It’s not the outcome we wanted by any stretch.”
Conservation officers had been telling residents in the area to secure their garbage and compost bins, and it wasn’t possible to set a trap in such a densely populated area. If one of the cubs were trapped, the mother would “aggressively protect that trap because the cub can’t get away,” Bates said.
City of Nanaimo residents are supposed to put their garbage out by 8 a.m. on collection days, not the night before, and B.C. Conservation has penalized residents in the past for non-compliance.
“[We] can’t really ticket a person because they didn’t put [garbage] in a garage or shed if they don’t have a garage or a shed, so we say secure it as best you can,” the conservation officer said.
Officials originally said the bears would be relocated, but it was a miscommunication, Bates said.
“Nobody ever wants to do that and that’s why they went to the step, tranquilize it and then double-check with the provincial wildlife vet…” he said. “We go do all the steps we can, but it boils down to if people don’t secure their garbage and their compost, it’s going to happen again.”