By Jaime Pomateer
A commercial business in Blue River has been charged for feeding dangerous wildlife, more specially, bears.
The charges came after the Conservation Officer Service (COS) investigated allegations the operation was leaving out food to attract the animals.
Len Butler, inspector with the COS Thompson Cariboo Region, said there are six charges being laid under the Wildlife Act and Forest Service Road Use Regulation, most of which deal with attracting dangerous wildlife.
“There’ll be several counts because there are several different days or times it was indicated the (operation) had contravened that act,” said Butler.
“There are some other Forest Service Road Act charges, but the main charges on the Wildlife Act are basically attracting dangerous wildlife.”
Butler added penalties for these types of offences on first conviction range from a fine upwards of $100,000 to a year in prison.
The reason penalties are so high is because it turns into a public safety issue, which increases the seriousness of these types of violations.
The COS started investigating last August after a complaint was made the operation was putting out food to attract bears.
Crown council approved the charges on May 28, which also include operating uninsured motor vehicles.
“The problem with feeding bears is they become dependent on human feeding and when the feeding stops, we know what happens from there,” Butler said.
“An example might be (this operation) is close to Blue River, obviously, and if they stop feeding those bears, we know where those bears are going to go—they’re going to be hitting the rural areas, and they’re going to be hitting the town and the other factor is, if bears become so habituated to humans coming up and feeding, you can imagine if you don’t have food with you.”
The first court appearance is on July 14 in Clearwater.