Whistler resident fined $60K for feeding bulk apples, eggs, carrots to bears from backyard

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A Whistler, B.C. resident has been fined $60,000 for feeding bulk produce to black bears from her backyard, say conservation officers.

According to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, Zuzana Stevikova had been feeding the bears up to 10 cases of apples, 50 pounds of carrots and up to 15 dozen eggs, which she purchased each week.

“(An) investigation found that Stevikova had been intentionally feeding black bears throughout the summer of 2018,” a statement from the service reads.

Conservation officers say Stevikova was sentenced for feeding and attracting bears to her property earlier this week in North Vancouver provincial court. The fine is historic, says the agency, and is the highest penalty ever imposed under the Wildlife Act in B.C. The majority of her payment will be directed to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

Someone reported Stevikova’s behaviour on the province’s Report All Poachers and Polluters tip line, which triggered the initial investigation in July 2018.

“These activities created an extraordinary public safety risk by conditioning bears to human food and presence,” the agency’s statement continues.

As a result of the food conditioning, the bears were not eligible for rehabilitation or relocation.

“In September 2018, Conservation Officers were forced to put down three bears that were repeatedly visiting the area, causing property damage, and exhibiting highly habituated behaviour showing no fear of people,” the statement reads.