By Nikki Fredrikson
The journalist part of me was intrigued when I found out that there was a bear roaming around CastleRock, but the animal lover in me knew immediately there could be no positive end to this story. When I read a Facebook post discussing the bear and its confidence to walk on back decks I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach knowing that this bear was destined to be destroyed.
While investigating the events that caused three black bears to be destroyed by local conservation officers, it was clear that human error or dare I say laziness caused these deaths. Over the May long weekend, a bear-resistant garbage bin in the residential neighbourhood was replaced with a non-bear-resistant one, which allowed these bears to have an open buffet of non-natural food.
However, the bin switch wasnt the only issue people were leaving their garbage beside the bin when it was full rather than bringing it into town to dump at the Invermere transfer station. The garbages attracted these animals and caused them to stay, and why wouldnt they?
They have an easy meal right in front of them not locked up. They dont have to scavenge far for more, and didnt need to use a lot of energy to feast away. Personally, if I was a bear that came out of hibernation hungry, I too would go for the easiest food source available.
Bears, creatures of habit, are likely to become habituated. If theyre not being threatened and have a viable food source theyll stay in the area. Typically bears dont tolerate others in their territory but due to a large and easy food source, the three seemed to be fine sharing CastleRock as their feeding ground.
Its a common occurrence for humans to see our neighbourhood wildlife, especially in early summer when animals are searching for an easy meal. Thats why as a community we need to be more proactive rather than reactive. Bring in your garbage until its time for pick up, clean your barbecue, take down bird feeders and ensure any bear attractants are away from your home.
Invermeres already killed four bears this year due to garbage attractants, lets not have another one.