The following is a message from Conservation Officers, received via Wild Wise Sooke.
The bear that was captured on Grant Road East this morning was humanely put down by CO’s. Be aware of the following facts:
- The bear that was caught was habituated to people and conditioned to garbage that was left unsecured, and fruit from the many trees that was left unpicked (despite repeated requests from CO’s and Wild Wise to remove the fruit).
- We do not relocate habituated bears, for obvious reasons. Habituated bears will return to where they came from or go to the nearest human settlement. Look on a map of southern V. I. and ask yourself where a bear could be released without it being able to walk out to a different community in a day.
- Even though there are now salmon in the Sooke River, this bear chose to stay in the middle of Sooke because of the easy availability of non-natural food.
- This large bear was the subject of at least 40 complaints from Sooke residents, including reports of bluff charging at children.
- Our response was the direct result of complaints made to us. We do not go out looking for bears to kill.
- This bear had lost all fear of people. If you think this bear was not potentially dangerous, you are very wrong. Given the complaints we had received, who would be blamed if this bear had injured someone?
- We are confident we captured the right bear based on detailed descriptions and the known behaviour pattern of it.
We were put in that position by the residents of Sooke (not all, but some). Before you blame the “trigger happy C.O.’s” for the death of this bear, ask yourself whether you were part of the cause, or whether you did anything to help prevent this from happening.
We are stretched too thin to go door to door telling people to secure their garbage, or pick their fruit. This needs to be a community effort.
The sad truth is that the community of Sooke let this bear down.