Can’t kill bears for eating honey

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows farmers encouraged to use electric fencing

Conservation officers refused to kill a family of black bears in northern Pitt Meadows on Tuesday despite a farmer’s insistence to do so because they destroyed his bee hives.

“We are not going to do that,” said Sgt. Todd Hunter, supervisor for the Fraser North Zone of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, which includes Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Last year, a bee farmer in Maple Ridge was convicted of killing more than 10 bears and fined $35,000 under the Canada Wildlife Act.

Hunter said the farmer felt that, under the act, which allows for the killing of bears to protect against an immediate threat to human life or property, with no other recourse, he was justified.

But it was not lawful, Hunter said, because the farmer was able to protect his hives with electric fencing.

It is also not lawful to kill a bear that is eating fish left on a porch, or a steer on Crown land subject to a grazing licence.

It is not lawful to kill a bear that is not an immediate threat to life, such as one repeatedly walking through a back yard while people are in their house, or frightening someone while they are in their truck, or hanging around a hunting camp.

“We want to make sure all alternatives are met before destroying bears,” Hunter said.

The Maple Ridge bee farmer was able to avoid paying much of the fine by taking part in a restorative justice program and improved the security around his hives.

The Pitt Meadows farmer also had insufficient fencing around his hives, Hunter added.

“We want to do everything possible to prevent bear conflicts.”

The conservation office will provide information about electric fencing to keep bears away from bee farms, as well as how to store food and food waste.

It is important to know, he said, the Conservation Officer Service will ensure that an appropriate and consistent enforcement response is taken for any unlawful killing.

“This includes conducting a thorough investigation to ensure an individual’s actions were permitted under the Wildlife Act.”

The Conservation Officer Service understands the significant financial investment associated with bee keeping and is willing to work with bee keepers on a case-by-case basis, Hunter said.

“However, we must also follow the law and the provisions under the Wildlife Act. Steps must be taken by the bee keepers to ensure that bears cannot access beehives, the most effective long-term solution being bear electric fencing.”

Hunter added: “We can’t just go around removing bears without cause. We are not going to be engaging in that practice.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

LETTER: CERB is simply worsening overdose issues in Maple Ridge

Taxpayer money is going to help buy more drugs and increase cases of death on local streets: Reader

Ridge Meadows Soccer welcomes former Whitecaps coach to club

Craig Dalrymple will join organization as new sporting director

Problems delay opening of sheets at Planet Ice Maple Ridge

Getting hold of parts, making repairs mean rinks won’t be available until January: facilities manager

SHARE: Smoky skies cast Alouette Lake in a rather haunting light

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read