A black bear, dubbed Huckleberry by Deep Cove, B.C., residents died on July 31, 2020, after becoming conditioned to food and humans. (North Shore Black Bear Society photo)

A black bear, dubbed Huckleberry by Deep Cove, B.C., residents died on July 31, 2020, after becoming conditioned to food and humans. (North Shore Black Bear Society photo)

Fewer dead bears, more fines: Advocates call for B.C. conservation officer reform

B.C. Bear Alliance wants to see body cameras on conservation officers after more than 600 black bears were killed this past year

Wildlife advocates are for calling for conservation officers responding to conflicts between humans and bears in B.C. to wear body cameras.

This, after more than 600 black bears were reported killed in the past year at the hands of B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

Dozens of advocacy groups – including Pacific Wild and Wildlife Biologists – have joined forces to form B.C. Bear Alliance to raise a collective voice for non-lethal bear management.

In total, more than 19,500 human-bear interactions were reported in B.C. between April 2020 and March 2021, according to data acquired by the group.

Of them, 14 per cent were responded to by conservation officers. A total of 650 black bears were killed.

“That says to me that it’s not working,” said committee member Lesley Fox, a humane education specialist.

RELATED: B.C. Conservation kills bear in Langford amid growing problem of habituation

The alliance is urging for the independent oversight of officers, similar to police, to encourage more non-lethal bear interventions.

“We can’t kill or relocate our way out of these problems,” Fox said.

“Many of us look at humans and animals as being in conflict. Conflict suggests that there are two parties that don’t agree. Animals are not willing participants.”

She said conservation officers need to pay more attention to humans who leave garbage around or outright feed wild animals. Under B.C.’s Wildlife Act, attracting dangerous wildlife is an offence punishable by a $230 fine.

Ticketing more humans would work as a preventative measure, she said, leading to fewer bears in residential areas.

“Killing should be the absolute last resort.”

READ MORE: ‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

For conservation officers suspected of wrongdoing, a formal complaint process exists through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

However, since the province oversees the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, “filing a complaint means that officers are investigating the conduct of their friends and colleagues,” said Fox.

“This undermines public trust.”



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

bearsConservationEnvironment

Just Posted

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Creston’s high school

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for the former Prince Charles Secondary School

A new doctor has been recruited for the Creston Valley. (Pixabay)
New doctor recruited for the Creston Valley

Dr. Luke Turanich is expected to begin practice in late summer/early fall

Fire at the former Alpine Disposal, and now GFL recycling facility, on Hwy 22 South of Trail. Photo taken just before 6 p.m. Monday June 21. Photo: John Piccolo
Update: Industrial fire rages outside Trail on Monday

Photos: The fire is reported to be at the GFL recycling facility

Kootenay forests are unusually dry for this time of year. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
On summer’s cusp, Kootenay forests are at record dry levels

Southeast Fire Centre says 4 months of unusually dry weather have had effect on the region’s forests

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Most Read