“It’s a garbage bear” said the Conservation Officer by way of explanation as I stood somewhat in shock on my back deck in downtown Castlegar at 10 o’clock in the morning of June 14.
Just a few minutes prior my dog had alerted me to some sort of commotion in the trees behind the neighbour’s yard. As I made my way out onto the deck a loud report sent me reeling. I looked over to the neighbour’s yard as the officer lowered his shotgun. I followed the trajectory and there lay a young, small bear, twitching as its life trickled out.
The officer came over to talk to me; he was angry. I am angry. We’re both angry because a young animal had to be killed. He said it was 2-3 years old, the RCMP had “twenty complaints”, it was in the downtown area in the mid-morning, and it was feeding on garbage.
There was nothing he could do except kill the bear. I guess his reasoning is rational; that still doesn’t make it any easier to accept. These are the consequences for bears, no matter their age, when garbage is left unsecured. It’s harsh; it’s not pretty.
Store your garbage properly.