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Posted 5/30/2018 Ref # 6289

North Vancouver bear killed, cubs sent for rehab

North Vancouver bear killed, cubs sent for rehab

Conservation officers have killed the first bear of the season on the North Shore after it became badly habituated to humans and their garbage.

The officers were called to Riverside Drive on Monday after a sow and two cubs that had been spotted munching on attractants in Blueridge yards several times over the last few weeks showed up in search of an easy meal on garbage day.

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The sow showed “zero fear” of humans, including a garbage truck driver who laid on the horn right in front of it, said conservation officer Lonnie Schoenthal.

“The garbage truck has very loud, very large horns and she just sat there eating the garbage,” Schoenthal said.

Normally, a bear in that situation would want to move on or protect its cubs, Schoenthal added.

“This particular sow did not do either of those and just continued to try and access garbage cans directly in front of me,” he said. “As a result of her actions, I made the decision the sow needs to be dispatched. She was at a high level of food conditioning and habituation.”

The cubs, however, did not appear to be habituated and were taken to the Critter Care Wildlife Society’s rehab facility in Langley.

“Both cubs are settling in ok. They were seen by a vet last night. The little female had to get a couple of sutures but they are otherwise in good health,” said Angela Fontana, senior animal care supervisor at Critter Care

Some neighbours in the Blueridge Area have been fundraising to help cover the costs of caring for the cubs. Donation can be made to Critter Care at

North Shore residents should be keeping their yards free of attractants, including bird feeders, dirty garbage or compose bins, barbecues, tree fruit and pet food, Schoenthal said.

The Ministry of Environment asks residents who spot bears getting cozy around human settlement to report them to the province’s hotline 1-877-952-7277. But Schoenthal added, so too should people call and report any attractants left out, so conservation officers can come speak with negligent property owners.

Posted 1/17/2018 Ref # 6284

Award of Honour

We're very proud to share that back in November our Education Coordinator, Christine Miller, received the Award of Honour from the District of North Vancouver. "Christine Miller's education programs have enlightened our community on the importance of attractant control as a means of safely coexisting with our local bears. From providing bear awareness information to new residents, to delivering bear aware workshops at presentations and community events, Christine has dedicated making the safety of our community and our local bears her priority" - Mayor Richard Walton.

Posted 10/27/2017 Ref # 6282

Wildlife Corridor Management Benefits From Team Approach

Dear Editor:

Effective communication can accomplish much. A group of nature-lovers and conservationists was concerned about the clearing of vegetation beneath BC Hydro’s power lines in a North Vancouver wildlife corridor, and BC Hydro was contacted. Subsequently, an educational walk on the Richard Juryn trail was organized.

David Cook, a retired biologist and longtime volunteer with the North Shore Black Bear Society summarized his multi-year study of bear feeding habits in the area and shared his preliminary findings on the possible inverse relationship between the availability of natural food sources and the number of bear sightings in residential areas.

BC Hydro’s Martin Lundy and Rene Roddick explained their vegetation management decisions and procedures. In a cycle of three to five years, BC Hydro eliminates trees near its transmission and distribution power lines to reduce contact incidents and keep the public safe from electrical hazards. This year, BC Hydro also removed the debris under the power line by the Richard Juryn trail, removing a fire hazard and creating a fire break in a wildfire situation.

BC Hydro representatives left with a better understanding of resident and society concerns about preserving wildlife habitat, and the participants gained information about how and why vegetation management is completed by BC Hydro. It was a perfect example of how a good communication strategy can achieve positive results, including a commitment to work together in the future.

Christine Miller
North Shore Black Bear Society

Posted 10/16/2017 Ref # 6281

We All Share The Blame For B.C Bear Deaths

SULLIVAN: We all share the blame for B.C bear killings

Over the last couple of years, I’ve sort of established a tradition for this column.

Every year, around this time of year, I write about bears, mainly about the conflict between bears and people and how it always comes out bad for the bears.

This year is no different; or more accurately, its’s different because it’s worse.

Last year at this time, 145 bears were killed in British Columbia. For being bears. That doesn’t include the number of bears hunted for mere sport. These bruins were dispatched for doing what comes naturally: foraging for food and protecting their young. The problem is bears become habituated to the easy pickin’s in people’s trash cans, orchards and bird feeders. So we kill them because we can’t think of anything else to do with them, a fatal failure of the imagination.

This year’s tally is just out and, incredibly, nearly 500 bears have been killed by conservation officers, 469 black bears and 27 grizzlies across the province. As usual, on the North Shore, we’re doing our part: on Aug. 1, Brent Richter in the North Shore News reported that six bears had been killed so far this year for being bears in North and West Vancouver. Three of the bears started life as the darlings of West Van and then they grew up, unfortunately, with a taste for people food, a crime calling for capital punishment, so they didn’t make it through their second summer. Sophomore slump.

I guess we should be thankful that the number of bears put down is a relatively small percentage of the total number of wildlife complaints in B.C. This year there have been more than 20,000 complaints about wildlife, the vast majority – 14,000 – about black bears, 430 about grizzlies.

No report on the complaints from bears about humans.

I’m not sure why I have taken to writing this annual lament about the plight of the bears. The rising toll makes it clear that the problem is getting worse. And I can’t see it getting better: more people mean more encounters with wildlife, all ending badly for the wildlife. We kill more bears each year, and then tempt the rest with more tasty garbage.

It’s almost as if we’re luring them to their demise.

So it’s clear my annual tirade is not working on people; maybe it’s time to head into the woods and warn the bears to stay away from people. That could be dangerous. Bears don’t write letters to the editor.

I get it. I realize that bears are big predators that pose a hazard to humans, and that the provincial government just thinks it’s being responsible when it puts down problem bears.

But consider the bears. In so many ways, they define the magic of Super, Natural British Columbia. They are at the top of the food chain, emblems of the health of the entire ecosystem. Bears being bears, it’s pretty much up to us to sustain that ecosystem, and that means you and me, not just a team of long-suffering conservation officers who are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to dealing with all these encounters.

Fortunately, we are not alone; we have help. A repository of wisdom and sanity re: bears, the excellent North Shore Black Bear Society, is a mere click away. Did you know, for example, you’ve got a better chance of winning the lottery than being killed by a black bear? That 57 people have been killed by bears in North America in the last 105 years, while 300 are killed by bee stings every year? Killer bees. Maybe conservation officers should carry little bee traps instead of being loaded for bear.

The Bear Society site is not just bear nerd fodder. It also offers a host of handy tips about bear-proofing your home. Clearly, if we all practised bear-proofing as recommended, encounters with bears would plummet. But who wants to pick all the fruit when it’s ripe, or take down their bird feeders during bear season, or go the extra mile on garbage? Better to just call in a bear complaint and let the conservation officers deal with it.

It’s not too late. They’re still wandering around looking for free food. Just make sure they don’t find it at your place. Remember, to paraphrase Smokey, only you can prevent bears from dying needlessly.

And with any luck, you won’t have to get my bear lecture this time next year.

Journalist and communications consultant Paul Sullivan has been a North Vancouver resident since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of Madonna.

Posted 10/16/2017 Ref # 6280

Richard Juryn Nature Walk

The Richard Juryn Trail was once a thriving black bear habitat and a research area for biologist David Cook for 5 years. In early 2017, the vegetation on the trail was drastically reduced, removing an abundance of natural food for bears and with it, any signs of bear activity in the area. 
The North Shore Black Bear Society and members of the public were joined by BC Hydro staff Marty & Rene (also a biologist) who provided information on how they manage vegetation around the power lines.