Sgt. Scott Norris says the worst part of his job is euthanizing wildlife, but he had to do exactly that on Monday morning in Langford.
After receiving nearly five calls about a wandering bear in Langford, the B.C. Conservation officer put down the animal near the intersection of Treanor Avenue and Millstream Road.
“It’s the saddest thing to do,” said Norris. “We want to protect bears and let them live on their own, but we can’t do that when there’s just enough people that don’t get the message that garbage needs to be locked up.”
He said garbage that isn’t locked up or food that is left out has been a constant problem in perpetuating bear calls. In the previous 24 hours (Sunday, May 31 to Monday, June 1) B.C. Conservation dealt with between 15 to 20 bear calls on the south Island. Norris said Conservation has euthanized three bears in the past month or so in the South Island region due to the growing problem of the wild animals becoming habituated. Conservation doesn’t relocate habituated bears as a large percentage of them find their way back to the same stomping grounds.
The bear spotted in Portage Park Monday morning wasn’t the bear euthanized in Langford the same day.
“People need to understand that we’re in bear territory,” said Norris. “The bear was euthanized right by Bear Mountain. It was given that name for a reason. When people don’t take their garbage expectations seriously, another bear’s life is lost.”
Norris noted there’s a $230 fine for residents who leave garbage out in bear territory. Residents can call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) if a bear poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety.