Conservation Officer Addresses Twelfth Nelson Bear Euthanized in 2022

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A black bear sighted downtown Nelson on Friday morning was the twelfth bear euthanized in the City this year.

Conservation Officer Nathan Smienk was called to Vernon Street on the morning of September 16th where a bear that may have caused property damage the night prior was found up a tree:

“…. In a public area midday and showing zero concern for individuals. It wasn’t nervous around people or anything like that which is very unusual behaviour. Also last night (Thursday) we had…. I think it was about four blocks away; we did have a house that a bear ripped the entire garage door off and got into the garage….”

The 15-year Conservation Service member adds that people need to give bears space and it really stresses them out when people get close, for example, to take photographs. Smienk blames animal attractants for the twelve bears that have had to be euthanized in Nelson this year to date:

“These are all bears that are fully food conditioned bears, causing property damage. Anywhere from; we’ve had bears pushing on doors to pulling on trailers trying to get into trailer doors, we’ve had bears even pulling siding off of buildings (and) accessing storage areas that are built into houses….”

“Managing attractants is huge, we don’t want to attract animals or bears into our yards with anything, so whether it’s fruit trees that bears are getting into even if the fruit is green; sometimes you’ll just have to pick all that fruit and just not have a fruit crop that year. Fruit trees that aren’t being used: People might have to cut those down, same with nuts. Garbage is a huge issue: People need to get rid of their garbage a little more frequently; this once every two weeks just isn’t enough and people need to be able to get their garbage away a little more frequently, especially during high-conflict years like this.”

Conservation Services are working with local Bylaw to ticket any offenders, as it is against City bylaws to have attractants left out for bears.

The message remains the same for the residents of Nelson” adds Nelson’s Wildsafe BC Coordinator, Lisa Thomson: “Correctly secure your human generated garbage, manage or remove your fruit tree's (fruit/nuts are an unnatural food source for black bears & other wildlife), feed your pets indoors, remove bird feeders, keep BBQ's clean, maintain your compost appropriately….”

Click here to read about the City of Castlegar’s current bear-whereabouts.