The killing of a black bear in West Trail last week resurfaces the oft-asked question, “Is relocation possible for ‘problem’ bears?”
According to the BC SPCA, relocation is generally not a humane or effective solution when a bear becomes habituated to non-natural food sources in urban areas.
“Relocating ‘problem’ bears does nothing to change human behaviour and is only a short-term solution,” the BC SPCA states.
“If food is still available, then other bears may move in. Age, sex and experience of the bear may also make relocation more or less effective. Releasing an animal within its home range may be an option in an emergency situation, but should be carefully considered.
“Relocating or translocating (long distance transfer) bears is also difficult for the animals, and they may suffer or die as a result.
“As they explore new territory they could get into fights with other bears, get hit by vehicles or shot by hunters. Even if taken hundreds of kilometres away, bears may just return to where they came from. They want to return to their home ranges because they know the best travel routes, where to get food and how to find shelter.
“The key to keeping bears safe is learning how to co-exist with them and preventing conflict from starting altogether.”
This explanation follows an email to the Trail Times wherein the person informs that a conservation officer shot and killed a ‘nuisance’ bear near McAnally Street the afternoon of Sept. 2.
“The bear was a nuisance, but he didn’t harm anyone” the person said. “Perhaps a trap-and-relocate may have been tried since this bear has apparently been around awhile.”