The bear situation in Nelson became a hot topic during the recent civic election and was one of the lead items in a recent story by environmental magazine The Narwhal.
The publication, which covers environmental issues, obtained government data showing that more than 5,632 bears have been euthanized in B.C since 2011, many killed after coming to close to populated areas, drawn in by the lure of easy meals like garbage or fallen fruit. The report reveals that Nelson, where many locals have been vocally protesting the killing of bears in town this summer, has euthanized 64 bears between 2015 and 2021.
Ainslie Cruickshank, the story's author, spoke with KCR News about the report.
“Nelson certainly wasn’t the worst, it was in the 9th spot of bears killed in that period,” Cruickshank said, but pointed out that experts in the field that she had spoken to for the article all agreed that the number of bears killed could be greatly affected by more responsible garbage handling.
The Narwhal also reported on how some counter-measures taken by the city, which is not yet certified Bear Smart by the province, had fallen flat. One example is the relatively limited uptake of the bear-proof garbage bins, which the city used to offer at discounted prices but no longer does.
"The challenge is when bears become a bit bolder, they become willing to break into a garage, or maybe someone's house. A conservation officer I spoke to said that’s a red flag for them. It’s a sign that the bear could become a threat to public safety, and that’s when they might end up euthanizing the bear," Cruikshank told KCR.
Listen to KCR's interview with reporter Ainslie Cruickshank below: