KELOWNA — It’s tough to watch: a young female bear caught in a leg snare being tranquilized by conservation officers.
She’s been a problem in the Belgo Road area for about three weeks, getting into peoples’ garbage and showing signs of aggression.
“A week ago it chased or followed after a teenager and chased some dogs in the neighbourhood,” says conservation officer Josh Lockwood.
The bear showed up in Monte Sandvoss’ backyard about three days ago.
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“And before you know it, it was up on our deck here, we had some apples on the table. He decided to come up on top, sit in the chair and eat apples,” says Sandvoss.
He says the bruin was getting too close for comfort.
“Today I was cutting the lawn. I was sitting on my lawn tractor — within five feet he walked right by me.”
Conservation officers set up a leg snare. It might look cruel but there was no other option.
“It works better than a trap because at this time of year there’s so much fruit and with the garbage and the fruit that is out we can’t offer them a better source of food in order to try and catch him,” says Lockwood.
This is the third bear local conservation officers have had to put down this summer. They say that’s three too many and the biggest problem continues to be unsecured garbage.
“It’s like crack cocaine. It just is. We’ve got to do better as people, as neighbourhoods, cities and regional districts by making sure that our garbage is not accessible to bears,” says conservation officer Ken Owens.
But it’s too late for this bear. It already has a tag meaning it’s been caught by conservation officers before. And that was its last chance. The animal is being put down.
“You know this is probably the most distasteful part of the job you have to do is dispatching or euthanizing bears. It’s one of the things that you have to do,” says Lockwood.
And they’ll have to do it again, if people keep attracting wildlife into their neighborhood.