Bear Threat Closes British Columbia Campground

July 28, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

British Columbia Forest Service officials were forced to close a campground at Strawberry Point on Lillooet Lake north of Vancouver after a bear threatened campers, Pique newsmagazine, Whistler, British Columbia, reported.

“The bear had obtained a food reward at the campsite and kept returning,” said Chris Doyle, conservation officer. “It showed no fear whatsoever of people, and was approaching people and pushing them out of their sites to obtain food. It was serious enough that we recommended that the site be closed.”

As of Tuesday evening (July 26) the campsite was still closed as conservation officers attempted to capture the bear. It’s not known if the bear will be destroyed as a result of its aggressive behavior.

“After we capture it, we’ll make an assessment of what to do at that point, but its behavior was such that it will likely be destroyed.”

Bear attractants include food that has been left out, and even items like toothpaste or shampoo that smell like food. Keeping your food in a cooler in a locked vehicle is one way to keep bears from smelling it, and many campgrounds have secure storage areas.

That wasn’t the only bear call last week. Bears were reported breaking into two homes in Whistler this past weekend, prompting the conservation officers to set up traps. One bear was caught and then tagged and released when it became clear that the bear likely wasn’t the one sought by conservation officers. Another bear was darted while trying to break into a home in Whistler, then ran into the woods. That bear was found dead in a pond two days later with no explanation for what happened – and whether it was the result of the drug.

“There is always a risk when we’re immobilizing a bear that it will have time to take off,” said Doyle. “In rare situations when we do immobilize bears we make sure it’s safe as possible. This bear had to be dealt with because it attempted to enter a residence.”


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