Can’t kill bears for eating honey

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows Farmers encouraged to use electric fencing

Conservation officers refused to kill a family of black bears in northern Pitt Meadows on Tuesday despite a farmer’s insistence to do so because they destroyed his bee hives.

“We are not going to do that,” said Sgt. Todd Hunter, supervisor for the Fraser North Zone of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, which includes Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Last year, a bee farmer in Maple Ridge was convicted of killing more than 10 bears and fined $35,000 under the Canada Wildlife Act.

Hunter said the farmer felt that, under the act, which allows for the killing of bears to protect against an immediate threat to human life or property, with no other recourse, he was justified.

But it was not lawful, Hunter said, because the farmer was able to protect his hives with electric fencing.

It is also not lawful to kill a bear that is eating fish left on a porch, or a steer on Crown land subject to a grazing licence.

It is not lawful to kill a bear that is not an immediate threat to life, such as one repeatedly walking through a back yard while people are in their house, or frightening someone while they are in their truck, or hanging around a hunting camp.

“We want to make sure all alternatives are met before destroying bears,” Hunter said.

The Maple Ridge bee farmer was able to avoid paying much of the fine by taking part in a restorative justice program and improved the security around his hives.

The Pitt Meadows farmers also had insufficient fencing around his hives, Hunter added.

“We want to do everything possible to prevent bear conflicts.”

The conservation office will provide information about electric fencing to keep bears away from bee farms, as well as how to store food and food waste.

It is important to know, he said, the Conservation Officer Service will ensure that an appropriate and consistent enforcement response is taken for any unlawful killing.

“This includes conducting a thorough investigation to ensure an individual’s actions were permitted under the Wildlife Act.”

The Conservation Officer Service understands the significant financial investment associated with bee keeping and is willing to work with bee keepers on a case-by-case basis, Hunter said.

“However, we must also follow the law and the provisions under the Wildlife Act. Steps must be taken by the bee keepers to ensure that bears cannot access beehives, the most effective long-term solution being bear electric fencing.”

Hunter added: “We can’t just go around removing bears without cause. We are not going to be engaging in that practice.”

Just Posted

COLUMN: Search for Grace shows community’s true nature

As Chilliwack searches for missing woman, a writer looks back 61 years at a similar story

Serious police incident unfolding at Sts’ailes

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

VIDEO: Agassiz farm spreads awareness for barn owls

Miel Bernstein hopes others will learn how they can help the threatened owl species

Fraser-Cascade school district hosts by-election to fill void left by passing of Tom Hendrickson

Advance voting begins on July 17, with general voting on July 27

Chilliwack cadet takes staff position in Comox

Air cadet one of about 20,000 youth enrolled in programs across Canada this summer

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

RCMP release sketch of suspect in SFU assault, appeal to witnesses who helped woman

The RCMP want to talk to two women who helped the victim after she got to the parking lot

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Most Read