West Kelowna business facing charges after six bears killed over littering

A West Kelowna business has been charged for leaving garbage around Lake Okanagan Resort

A West Kelowna business has been charged after six bears were euthanized in three days following continuous littering in an area around Lake Okanagan Resort.

According to Conservation Officer Jeff Hanratty, officers were forced to put down three bears on Sunday, one on Monday and two on Tuesday, due to safety concerns.

“We had a group of bears that were habituated and food-conditioned with unnatural food sources that had become a threat to the public,” said Hanratty.

“We had a witness who was charged twice by the black bears, we had bears up on balconies accessing garbage and food and there’s a report of a bear pushing on a window.

“So, these bears were a high risk to the public and as a result, the bears were destroyed.”

READ MORE: Lake Country begins testing bear-resistant garbage carts

Hanratty said COs had no choice but to shoot the bears, noting if the bears had been relocated to their natural environment there would be a very good chance of them making a return.

Since June of this year, 97 black bears have been euthanized by the BC Wildlife service across the province mostly due to public safety concerns.

“The problem with bears having access to unnatural food sources is that it can lead them to become food-conditioned,” said Wildlife BC Okanagan coordinator Meg Bjordal.

“Once they become food-conditioned they can very quickly become human habituated whereby they actually begin to associate people with food and that’s when they start to tolerate people in closer proximity than what is safe for both the people and the bears.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Shuswap resident’s yard becomes nighttime thoroughfare for grizzlies

Hanratty said the West Kelowna business is being criminally charged and a dangerous wildlife protection order has been issued.

Conservation Officers will be laying charges under the Wildlife Act anyone caught attracting dangerous wildlife. It’s a $130 ticket for attracting dangerous wildlife.

The public is asked to report dangerous wildlife to the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

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