Conservation officers are planning to trap and relocate a black bear sow and her three cubs in Whistler after they entered a residence and ransacked a kitchen full of food.
Conservation officer Tim Schumacher said the bears are believed to have gained entrance to a home on Ambassador Crescent on Thursday (Aug. 16) accessing food left out on the counters and in the fridge.
Schumacher said the bears were not observed in the residence, however, eight piles of scat, two larger and six smaller in size, leads him to believe it is the mother and three cubs that has a home range in that area. The four black bears also returned to the residence several times overnight.
“It is a pretty good bet the sow and three cubs were the culprits given they came back,” he said adding neighbours also indicated food left outside on a deck to cool was previously eaten by bears. “When people leave out food like that they start to realize they can gain access to food on decks and that looks like what happened here.
“What we plan on doing is a short distance relocation for these bears and hopefully they change their behaviour and move on but there is a good possibility they might come back.”
However there are challenges and risks related to trapping and relocating a sow bear with cubs.
Schumacher said sometimes all bears involved are not caught in the trap at once and that puts stress on the mother. It can also require officers to tranquilize one or more of the cubs or use a catch pole.
The short distance instead of long distance relocation, he added, is meant to reduce stress on the animals.
“If we move her to an area she is unfamiliar with she doesn’t know food sources are,” Schumacher said. “She could have a tough time adapting or could lose her cubs so we don’t like doing long distance relocations.”
He said residents should be diligent about leaving wildlife attractants like food outside, and should scrape and burn down residue on barbecues after use.
All black bear sightings in Whistler should also be called into the Report all Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line 1-877-952-7277 or #RAPP on cell.