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Grizzly Bear Destroyed in Sparwood

A grizzly bear had to be “destroyed” in the Elk Valley after it repeatedly returned to Sparwood in search of human food and garbage.

Kathy Murray, WildSafeBC Elk Valley Community Coordinator said the bear became acclimatized to the Sparwood community.

“There were regular sightings of a grizzly bear throughout the community of Sparwood for about five weeks and the bear became very food-conditioned and habituated and eventually posed a threat to human safety, so had to be destroyed.”

Murray said the District of Sparwood has issued residents bear-resistant garbage containers, and although a good product, they aren’t 100% bear-proof and should continue to be stored away between collection days and totally secured.

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“If you don’t want bears on your property, just remove the garbage, take it to the transfer station if you can, just avoid having anything that attracts bears on your property,” Murray told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “If we can address the issues earlier than the bears are less likely to get into human food and have to be destroyed once they pose a threat to human safety.”

Grizzly bears and black bears will continue to roam the Elk Valley and the surrounding regions for the coming weeks as they make one last push for food before heading off for the winter months.

“Bears will start to go and find a den for the winter usually once the days start to get shorter, the temperatures drop and the food sources dwindle, that is usually anytime from Thanksgiving onwards. This time of year, end of September, early October, is peak time for bears trying to fatten up right before they go into their dens,” said Murray.

“As much as people feel that bears need food, human food and garbage is not what they need so if we remove the attractants the bears will eventually be moving onto hibernation and probably in the next couple of weeks.”

Murray said that all bear conflicts in a community should be immediately reported to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

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