BC Conservation Officer Stuart Bates loads a tranquilized five-year-old female black bear into a trailer for relocation. (Kara Olson photo)

Editorial: Don’t feed the bears, deliberately or otherwise

We’d like to beg people not to deliberately feed the bears

It’s a perennial story: spring comes and so do the bears. And along with the bears come human-wildlife conflicts.

In Cowichan, hotspots for conflicts last year included Shawnigan Lake, Maple Bay and Cowichan Lake. Along with not putting out your garbage early, and making sure you take the fruit from your fruit trees before the bears come to dine, we’d like to beg people not to deliberately feed the bears.

One would think this would go without saying, but history has shown us differently. Just last July the B.C. Conservation Officer Service warned people not to feed a young bear that was hanging out west of Youbou. People had been spotted getting out of cars to try to give it food. In August of 2019 the MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre put out a warning to discourage people who were stopping on Hwy. 4 near Kennedy Lake on the way to Tofino to feed a black bear. In 2018 two people were charged after photos circulated on social media of people feeding another B.C. bear Timbits.

And those are just a few examples; there are many more cases.

Some people think they are being kind, feeding a hungry animal a bit of nourishment. They are wrong. They are putting both themselves and the bear in danger. While black bears (the kind of bears common to Cowichan) are not overly aggressive, they are still wild animals and people need to remember that. They are big, strong (far, far stronger than you), and can kill you. And much like your dog at the dinner table, they do not need human food.

Bears that become habituated to being fed by people are at much greater risk of having to be euthanized by authorities. Bears remember very clearly where they got food from in the past and will seek it out there in the future. So if they become unafraid of humans and desire human food because they’ve gotten a taste for it, they will enter our communities and pose and danger to the people living there, not to mention our domesticated pets.

Then there are the really reprehensible people who try to entice bears close with food so they can get photos for their social media accounts. This isn’t misguided, it’s stupid and self-indulgent in the worst way. Don’t do it.

We humans are supposed to be the smarter of the two in this bear-human dynamic. We need to act like it and enjoy wildlife like bears from a safe distance — safe for both the humans and the bears.

Editorials

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

CVRD Area E director Alison Nicholson, right, hiked two hours to Waterfall Camp at the Fairy Creek watershed along with Comox town councillor Nicole Minion and Comox Valley Regional District director Daniel Arbour to meet with old-growth logging activists on Monday, June 7. (Submitted)
Cowichan Valley regional director visits Fairy Creek protest camps

‘They clearly communicated that they are committed to what they are doing’

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

Most Read