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Call for awareness, prevention after black bear put down in North Vancouver

Last Updated Aug 10, 2020 at 9:06 pm PST

Huckleberry, a well-known black bear, was put down in North Vancouver after becoming too comfortable with people. (Courtesy North Shore Black Bear Society)

A bear awareness group suggests the recent culling of a young black bear on the north shore didn't have to happen

The North Shore Black Bear Society says trails have been busier during COVID-19, pushing bears into residential areas

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The recent culling of a well-known black bear on the north shore prompts a warning from a local bear-awareness group that says incidents like this — while preventable — are also becoming more inevitable.

The juvenile bear known as “Huckleberry” had to be put down because it became comfortable with folks feeding, meaning the animal was then considered a danger to the community. Huckleberry was tame and was being fed by people who then took pictures of it for social media.

Luci Cadman, education coordinator with the North Shore Black Bear Society, says actions like this lead to the bear’s demise, as well as some changes brought on by COVID-19.

She says with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry encouraging British Columbians to get outside during the pandemic, the trails in the backcountry are becoming a bit too noisy for bears.

“People are certainly acting on that advice,” she tells NEWS 1130.

“I think it has a lot to do with the recreational activity, which is pushing bears from their homes in the forest to seek a little bit of solace in quiet residential areas.”

Because of this, Cadman says her group has been fielding more calls than usual this year.

The society is recommending people living in bear-adjacent areas be more aware of “unintentional feeding,” from garbage and fruit trees, which are also a major attractant.

“Typically the bears we do see in residential areas are the vulnerable population,” Cadman says, which are the younger bears and mothers with cubs.

“[Bears] just have to be present in residential areas to be killed,” she says.

Cadman says Huckleberry was believed to be younger than three years old.