Conservation officers killed a black bear that was getting into garbage in Terrace and was habituated to humans.
Initially conservation officers believed there were two black bears in the area due to conflicting descriptions, but they now believe it was only one bear, according to Sergeant Tracy Walbauer of the Terrace Conservation Officer Service.
The bear was getting into trash on the east side of town, by Johnstone St. and Terrace Mountain, and showing no fear of humans.
There was a report posted to social media of a black bear on Terrace Mountain. Jordan Linteris posted a photo of a bear that he said had been ripping apart garbage and startled his daughter while she was out biking.
“It is out in the daytime and not afraid of anything and walking down the street around traffic,” he wrote June 22.
When a bear becomes too familiar with humans, Walbauer said, there is a risk the bear could attack a person.
“Once they become habituated and lose their fear of people, they can, at some point, attribute people as food as well, so that’s when we make the call to remove them from the population,” he said.
Conservation officers observed the bear getting into garbage, and that’s when they determined they needed to kill it, Walbauer said.
“We’re always concerned with bears that are into non-natural food sources like garbage and things like that,” he said. “We’ve got to get the public on board to start putting [things like] garbage and bird feeders and compost bins away whenever we have bears in the area.”
Walbauer said typically autumn is the most common time to have bears coming into Terrace.
“But this year we’ve had a cool spring and there’s probably not as much ripened in the bush that in previous years we’ve seen, in terms of berries and things like that,” he said. “I think what you’re seeing is we’ve got a fairly healthy bear population and they’re looking for all types of food sources they can find.”
There are a few other bears in the general area, Walbauer said, but none have conservation officers worried.
Bear sightings or encounters can be reported by calling 1-877-952-7277.