A bear cub that was known by Agassiz residents to hang around Strikers Corner with its sibling and mother was shot this week when it was discovered to be wounded.
At around 3 p.m. Tuesday, BC Conservation officer Sgt. Steve Jacobi shot the bear after receiving about 10 calls from observers who reported strange behavior from the animal.
“It was injured, it had a big hole in its side,” said Sgt. Jacobi. “It was likely a car accident, that’s my guess.”
Though the destruction of the bear was because of the injury, it is possible the wound was a result of the cub being habituated, according to Jacobi.
He’s uncertain if it was the exact bear that was shot, but Jacobi said aside from many people stopping to take pictures—a practice that is fine from a distance—there were those who went a step further.
“One group of people got up and approached it and fed it a hamburger,” he said. “Other people were leaving corn out for it and leaving other food stuffs out for it, so it got very used to people being around and leaving food for it.”
Although concerned passersby might have thought they were helping the cub, they are actually putting the bear in danger by training it to expect food.
“It could have been [hit] because it was so used to people that it wasn’t afraid of anybody,” Jacobi said. “It was fearless.”
The conservation officer warns that people should never approach wildlife.
“We want bears to be afraid of people actually,” he said. “If a bear sees you and you see the bear and you both run, you both go different directions, that’s the best case scenario.”
Jacobi said the sow’s location is unknown, but that other cub has been most recently reported in the Tower Road area.
It’s not hibernating yet, so he said people still have to be vigilant about not putting out any attractants to ensure the sibling isn’t also habituated.
“We’d like one member of this family to survive, would be nice,” Jacobi said.
He said the cub will be trying to find food anywhere it can and residents should wait at least two weeks before putting up bird feeders and other temptations.
• More information about human and wildlife conflicts can be found at: www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/info/wildlife_human_interaction/index.html.