An investigation has been launched into an incident in east Maple Ridge where a female black bear was shot and killed by an individual protecting their chickens.
The Conservation Officers Service is looking into the incident that took place Sunday, Nov. 7, and left two “small-sized” cubs orphaned as a result of the killing.
Several conservation officers spent the entire day investigating the incident and capturing the orphaned cubs – which, the agency said, were captured carefully and safely and taken to a permitted rehabilitation center for long term care.
Two different properties were issued Wildlife Act Dangerous Wildlife Protection Orders to tidy up attractant issues, including the property where the bear was killed.
Fines are not involved unless they fail to comply with the order, explained conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter.
“One of the orders was complied with right away. The other one we need to follow up but it was essentially complied with right away,” he noted.
Now, he said, the other part of the investigation is trying to determine the lawfulness of the incident.
Hunter said this year there has been one other incident that happened like this one, but it happened in Mission, on the border of Maple Ridge.
But, he added, incidents like this take up a lot of time for his officers, and it takes them away from their other duties like protecting wildlife resources for First Nations communities, working with the Upper Pitt and Stave elk, and larger environmental matters where people are intentionally polluting.
“It took three of us all day long to deal with this,” said Hunter.
And, he said, they still have to investigate to determine whether the actions of the resident were justified and lawful.
Currently there are two officers in training, one full-time officer, one officer on loan from another zone, and Hunter, who are charged with looking after an area from the middle of Indian Arm, all the way to the middle of Harrison Lake, and to the back of all the drainages, before you hit Squamish and Pemberton, he explained.
Conservation is urging property owners to take steps to prevent conflicts with dangerous wildlife like bears by using electric fencing, fortified enclosures, proper feeding protocols, feed storage and waste disposal.
Hunter noted that it is predominantly in the semi-rural areas where people with small acreages are allowed to keep livestock who need to do a better job to prevent wildlife conflicts.
There are a lot of good places that do everything they can to prevent conflict, Hunter pointed out.
“But there are a large number of properties that could be doing a lot more,” he said, adding that it’s “super frustrating”.
Hunter is hopeful that the cubs will pull-through.
“Hopefully they will have good and the they will make it and they can get back out there and stay away from conflicts,” he said.
They are asking landowners who want to find more on how to prevent conflicts from happening to go to WildSafeBC, the provincial website gov.bc.ca for Human-Wildlife Conflict and Farm Practices in B.C. Reference Guide.
The agency would also like people to report issues they come across in order to prevent similar incidents from happening.
Have a story tip? Email: email@example.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.