(files) People are reminded, to not leave out food that can attract bears.

UPDATE: Three bears killed in Maple Ridge this spring

Fourth one shot, but ran off into forested area in Silver Valley on Wednesday.

Four bears have been shot in Maple Ridge so far this spring, including two on Wednesday.

The latter two were shot in the Silver Valley area for public and officer safety reasons, said Sgt. Todd Hunter, with the Conservation Officer Service.

Only one from Wednesday was confirmed dead, however.

Veronica Clark, in the Silver Valley Neighbourhoods Facebook group, shared a video of conservation officers dragging what appears to be a dead bear onto a truck.

Andrea Ross said in an email that she witnessed a bear shot by conservation officers on Foreman Drive in Silver Valley.

“But the bear was not fatally shot and ran off into the bushes. Very, very sad.”

Nicole Caithness, a conservation officer based in Maple Ridge, said a brown-coloured black bear was shot in the early afternoon on Wednesday on Foreman Drive.

It had been reported going into Silver Valley garages, approaching people, and was not “hazed off” even when a resident activated a car alarm to try and scare it away.

Once shot with a high-powered rifle, she said the bear ran into the wooded area north of Foreman Drive.

Conservation officers tracked the bear, but were not successful in locating it.

Caithness believes the injury will prove fatal, but said a large animal can cover ground even after sustaining a killing wound.

“All the signs point to that he was fatally shot,” she said.

Approximately two hours after the first bear was shot, a second large adult black bear was killed. He approached an unarmed wildlife safety officer, and the decision was made to euthanize the bear.

“He was extremely habituated to people, and frequenting the area in broad daylight,” Caithness said.

She added that residents of Silver Valley must be more vigilant in removing attractants, and noted even recycling put out the night before pickup attracts bears.

She warned that a 500-pound black bear is still an excellent climber, and residents who are putting bird feeders on their second-storey decks are not keeping them away from bears.

“It’s definitely our busy time of the year,” Hunter said earlier.

Hunter said as bears emerge from “torpor” – a period of inactivity that allows them to survive with little food – there’s not a lot of natural food available to them. He added they start looking for high-calorie food sources, such as beehives, chicken feed, household garbage, pet food and bird feeders.

Two other bears have been killed in Maple Ridge since April because they had become habituated to food sources that brought them into conflict with humans and were deemed a danger.

In the North Fraser Zone, which stretches from Anmore, west of the Tri-Cities, to Deroche, which is east of Mission, there have now been eight bears shot – seven confirmed as killed – since April 1.

Both the Conservation Officer Service and Maple Ridge Wildsafe community coordinator Dan Mikolay are campaigning to get people to keep their garbage secured, making it less of an attractant to bears.

Mikolay said that is critical to do so in May and June, as bears become more active.

READ ALSO: Study shows black bears need a variety of salmon species to be healthy

Mikolay urges people to:

• take garbage to the trash the morning of pickup, not the night before;

• wrap and freeze bones, waste meat or other highly attractive garbage before putting it out;

• don’t leave pet food outside;

• fill bird feeders only during harsh winter weather as seed attracts bears, as well as deer and rats, and therefore the animals that prey on them – coyotes and cougars.

“You’re going to have the whole food chain showing up,” Hunter said.

READ ALSO: Can’t kill bears for eating honey

• The Ministry of Environment Report All Poachers and Polluters line is 1-877-952-RAPP to report wildlife conflicts.


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

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