Four dead bears and we’re to blame

Four bears are dead because of the actions of negligent Salmon Arm residents.

To those Salmon Arm residents who thought they were helping a mother bear and her three cubs by feeding them, either directly by leaving food out, or indirectly by allowing easy access to food sources like garbage, bird feeders and pet food.

You didn’t help. In fact, the very opposite.

Those four bears are dead because of the actions of negligent Salmon Arm residents.

That’s because bears, once accustomed to the ease and taste of human trash, will become hooked – just like an addict on cocaine. Attractants such as leftovers, barbecue grease and vegetables pack a greater payoff than a mouthful of berries, grubs or grass.

There’s no point in blaming conservation officers for the problem and saying relocating bears is better than shooting them because that’s not always the case. If bears have already become habituated to human garbage, they are likely to return, even from hundreds of kilometres away. For the most part, people understand that our neighbourhoods are in bear territory and it’s up to residents to make sure nothing is left outside for bears to get into. But the sad fact is, it just takes one or two homeowners to forget to close a door, to put out garbage bags the night before pick-up or to leave a bag of dog food on the back step for the problem to begin.

So instead of blaming others, and conservation officers – who do not want to be spending their days shooting bears – perhaps it’s time for residents to take additional action beyond keeping their own yards attractant-free. Call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277 if you see people leaving their trash or other attractants around. You may save a bear’s life.