Two men who posted a video of themselves feeding rice cakes to a bear along the highway near Tofino have been fined $345.
The two Vancouver Island residents were issued tickets when they were located and their identities have not been released, said Chris Doyle, deputy chief of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
The incident took place April 30 on Highway 4 near Kennedy Lake, between Tofino and Port Alberni. After the video was posted to social media, tips from the public allowed authorities to find the people responsible, Doyle said.
Feeding bears is hazardous to people and bears, which may come onto roads looking for food or become aggressive.
“Once the bear has been fed by people it will have an association of people and food, so it can lead to further conflict,” Doyle said. “If they become dangerous they may have to be destroyed.”
Conservation Officers were searching this week for a bear that has been entering backcountry campsites in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Campers across B.C. are reminded to keep food and garbage secure, using lockers if they are available or keeping attractants inside a locked vehicle. Feeding or negligently attracting bears is an offence under the Wildlife Act.
“If a bear appears close to your site, attempt to scare it off,” Doyle said. “Make loud noises, stay in a group, and don’t turn your back and run from the bear. Don’t back away and let it into your site.”