PENTICTON, B.C. – Conservation officers euthanized five bears travelling together in Penticton, B.C., on Thursday.
Area resident Heidi McHale said the bears had been prowling her neighbourhood for several days and were feasting on garbage that residents had left outside their homes.
“There is no need to keep it outside. I am so upset, because this was so preventable. It didn’t have to happen,” she said.
Conservation officer Sgt. James Zucchelli said they’ve been trying to get the community to clean up and not leave garbage out.
He said the bears took up residence in the greenbelt next to the local elementary school and created an unsafe situation for the general public and students.
“Basically, we were put into a position where public safety had to outweigh the bears.”
Zucchelli said his office received complaints for several days about the increasingly brazen bears going on people’s decks, destroying a hot-tub cover and charging a 20-year-old man on Wednesday evening.
The five-bear group was “highly unusual,” he added, because it was made up of three adult males and two younger females, that weren’t offspring of the males.
Zucchelli said it was like a group of adults and teenagers operating together.
“The only thing we can surmise is that there were so many attractants around there that they were just able to be around each other and go door-to-door and get what they wanted.”
The bears, which were trying to build fat stores before winter hibernation, weren’t suitable candidates for relocation because they had become so habituated to food and humans, he said.