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Killing bears a last resort, says B.C. Conservation Service

Last Updated Aug 14, 2019 at 7:43 am PDT

File photo. (iStock)

The B.C. Conservation Service is defending itself after criticism from a group who says officers are too quick to shoot

Chris Doyle with the B.C. Conservation Service says killing bears is a last resort after other avenues have been tried

He says they work with municipalities to enforce bylaws on garbage left outdoors and other bear attractants

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – No one becomes a conservation officer to kill a bear.

That’s coming from the B.C. Conservation Service after Bear Smart came out criticizing conservation officers, saying they have lost their way when dealing with bear conflicts and are too quick to shoot.

Chris Doyle with the B.C. Conservation Service says this is unfair and not true.

“No officer wants to be put in the position of having to destroy those animals, but it is a reality as well,” says Doyle.

RELATED: Increased bear sightings in Lower Mainland causing tension between conservation officers, public

He says conservation officers first try to prevent conflict. Many attempts will be made to redirect an animal’s attention to remove them from human areas.

Killing a bear is a last resort and taken after other avenues have been tried.

“There may be a whole bunch of conflict that people aren’t aware of that leads to that bear being destroyed,” says Doyle. “There are some bears that don’t have a lot of history that have a high level of conflict right from the get to.”

RELATED: Sorry, not sorry: Coquitlam neighbours arrested for ‘obstructing’ COs adamant they did nothing wrong

He says the Conservation Service works with municipalities to enforce bylaws regarding garbage that is left outside and other bear attractants.

“The reality is some communities are doing a much better job than others and we have a number of communities in B.C. that are bear smart communities, and they receive certification because part of what they’re doing is dealing with those attractants and enforcing their bylaws.”

Last month, three people in Coquitlam were charged with obstruction in an incident with officers who had to destroy a bear.