On Sept.15, a bear was ‘destroyed’, according to conservation officer Alex Desjardins, in what he is calling an usually active fall for bears coming into town.
The bear, which was found near the municipal campground, had to be destroyed due to ‘inaction’ said Desjardins, saying that it’s mainly people who are becoming careless with their garbage that are bringing the bears into human areas.
“The main issue is garbage, the vast majority of Golden residents are great at clipping and securing their bins, but a small percentage leave their garbage un-clipped which habituates and conditions the bear,” he said.
Clipping only one side of your garbage bin can be just as bad as not clipping it at all, said Desjardins, as most bears will still easily be able to pry open the lid. In fact, it would cause more damage, as the bins will be ruined afterwords.
“It’s incredibly important to put two clips on, if it’s only one it’s a violation ticket,” said Desjardins.
“There’s a wide spread belief that one clip is as good as two and it really just is not.”
‘Destruction’ of wildlife often occures when a bears behaviour gets to far up a matrix, becoming far more aggressive and causing more human-wildlife conflict.
Translocation is not a feasible option, especially around this time of year, as the bear will have trouble establishing a den before winter, or could be predated upon by a bigger bear, or would simply return.
Desjardins says that it’s important that everyone in town limit their attractants to avoid any more destruction of wildlife, something he is always hard to do and never gets any easier.
“I’ve been doing this job close to 20 years and every time I have to open the little trap door and I see a bear with his little eyes looking at me when I have to pull the trigger, it never gets any easier,” said Desjardins.
“To know that it’s preventable and the majority of people take responsibility for their garbage, but that the small percentage of people are unnecessarily wasting a bears life, it’s been decades on the job and it truly does not get easier.”
Desjardins says there’s at least two more bears, and potentially up to five, remaining in the area, and that bear activity in town has suddenly picked up in the last week to ten days.
For those who fail to protect their garbage, fines start at over $250 for a first offence, with a provincial court appearance for a second offence.