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Dead Bears July 13, 2022

The Bear Smart team was devastated to learn that, despite every effort, two of our young bears have been destroyed. This is the first time in almost 20 years that Lions Bay bears have been destroyed by COS.


In an attempt to learn from this sad turn of events and prevent further bear deaths, several conversations were held with the Conservation Officer (CO) and the team called a meeting attended by the Works Manager, Bylaw and wildlife educator, Meg Toom, who has been brought in to assist with attractant audits.


We have been able to identify the various bears and track their movements thanks to resident reporting: well over 200 sightings, photos, videos, emails and phone calls have been received since April 28th. This insight has been the most valuable tool in defining a waste collection schedule that markedly reduced instances of bears gaining access to especially food waste and garbage and seeing what our bears are up to.


Lessons learned include:

· Increased bear sightings and activity in neighbourhoods is a province-wide phenomenon this year and is largely due to the colder weather and lack of natural food sources for bears.

· While the majority of residents have done everything possible to protect our bears, the lack of compliance on the part of some has undermined the best efforts of the rest of the community.

· Although we may each slip up and give a bear access to attractants only once, compound that with the neighbours’ slip ups and the bear learns behaviour that is rewarded with food, according to the CO.

· Bears learn bad behaviour almost without exception due to human non-compliance: For example, if you leave your garage open and a bear gets in, it is not regarded as a problem bear. But if it comes back and tries to get into the closed garage, it is regarded as problematic (also according to the CO). Bears are quick learners and extrapolate this to include other structures.

· Even when humans are at fault, COS have criteria which determine when bears must be destroyed. Unfortunately, these are pretty rigid. Even if humans were at fault, the bear will die.

· It is more important to shoo a bear off one’s property than it is to videotape or photograph it.

· Relocations are extremely rare due to limited resources. Once captured, a bear is usually destroyed.


The remaining bears in the village will only move on if we create a zero attractant environment. Full compliance with the bylaw and Bear Smart practices is the key to keeping our bears alive. We ask that you take a minute right now to check your house and yard and make certain there is nothing anywhere that might get a bear in trouble.


Please report bear sightings on www.lionsbaybearsmart.ca so that we can continue to track activity and determine when the bears move on and if they return in the Fall.


From the Bear Smart team


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