Young grizzlies relocated

Three grizzly cubs are back in their element and away from residential areas in Sicamous.

Tobe Sprado, BC Conservation Officer Service inspector for the North Okanagan, said the three two-year-old bears, all females, were captured between July 16 and July 20. They were tranquilized, ear tagged and relocated to an area between Shuswap Lake and Revelstoke, at the far end of their home range in the Monashee Mountains.

“They were hanging around for the last month, essentially, and we felt it was better to remove them from that area and give them an opportunity elsewhere before they became food-conditioned animals – so that’s what we did,” said Sprado.

Sprado explained the Conservation office takes special care to relocate female grizzlies, with or without cubs, if and when they run the risk of becoming dependent upon available food sources in human populations.

A new release from the Conservation office states the relocation of the three bears represents a success in terms of conservation, but also a “failure to control and restrict access to attractants.”

“(Relocation) is not without risk, and will cost far more then taking proactive steps to prevent the creation of problem bears and will not stop the problem in the medium to long-term,” states Conservation Officer Ken Owens in the release. “Bears that are (relocated) are exposed to large amounts of stress and generally suffer high mortality rates once transferred.

“This measure was taken as an interim measure to allow residents adequate time to properly secure and prevent access to attractants. It is like a get out of jail free card for the community of Sicamous.”

Owens adds bears that become food conditioned and habituated to humans are often destroyed out of concern for human safety.

Fruit trees are one such attractant, and Sprado said it is best to either cut them down if they aren’t being used, or to set up electric fencing. More information can be found at www.wildsafebc.com.