A reader writes about the need to protect bears from our garbage. Photo: NNSL

A reader writes about the need to protect bears from our garbage. Photo: NNSL

LETTER: Learning the hard way that a fed bear is a dead bear

Theresa Negreiff talks about the false hope that problem bears are relocated

Every day we bump into myths that do more harm than good. How about “real men don’t cry”or “addiction is a choice” or “bears causing trouble just get relocated to the wilderness”?

I’ll be honest, that last one was a heart breaker. I had genuinely thought that some bears were relocated if they were seen as having better odds of adapting.

I heard that myth repeated more than once this fall. However, after several days of dealing with a regular bear visitor who was well known in my neighbourhood, my neighbour reported that he was tranquilized and taken away.

A call to the conservation office the next day confirmed my worst fears — that beautiful young bear was already dead. It also woke me up to a new myth busting fact — bears are never relocated. The conservation officer I spoke to said, and I quote, “That does not happen, ever.”

So neighbours, please, please, don’t be lulled into the deadly myth that leaving your garbage cans, or your fruit, or your other attractants out is no big deal. It is. The bears that find food at your house are one step closer to being habituated and becoming too high risk to be alive.

The hard truth is, a fed bear is a dead bear.

Please do everything you can to make sure bears don’t find food in your yard. I will be removing my nut tree this fall with a pledge to do just that.

Theresa Negreiff

Castlegar, BC