A taste for garbage and city life led to the destruction of a small cinnamon bear recently. The bear was first sighted in May, said Sharon Wieder, Rossland Bear Aware co-ordinator.
“People mentioned it and they were saying it was small and they thought it was a cub,“ Wieder said, adding that some thought it was orphaned because they didn’t see a mother bear around.
Wieder got a call in June about the bear and a chance to see it.
“Somebody called in and said the bear was seen around Pinewood on garbage day,” she said. “They tried to shoo it away from the garbage, but it was still there.”
The bear was regularly seen around neighbourhoods on garbage days, around Ferraro Foods and downtown.
Wieder said the bear had probably been habituated for awhile.
“Given how old she was and her behaviour…Given the fact that she was not afraid of people,” she said. “People commented that she wandered around like a stray dog and wasn’t the least bit agressive in situations where typically a bear like that would have gotten a bit agressive, as a defensive mode. So my guess is she was probably raised in town by her mother and had just become used to being around town.”
Wieder said she may have been spotted in past years.
“Her story is not uncommon for bears that become habituated to people and get used to food from people. Typically that’s what happens is moms will raise those cubs in town and female cubs won’t go as far as males would.”
Wieder said she was probably getting ready to raise her own cubs, as she was around six years old.
Unfortunately, the bear started getting into more areas. Wieder said she watched the bear get into the dumpster behind Ferraro’s in June.
Around the same time, a resident called to report a brush in with the bear. A man had been painting his house, when he felt something wet and furry pass behind him, he turned around to find the bear leisurely strolling by.
A few weeks later, he heard noises coming from the kitchen and walked in to find the bear holding the fridge open and eating food.
Wieder said that was right around the time there were problems with bears at the Lions Campground.
“That’s where she was trapped, at the campground,” she said.
The call about the bear being in the house would trigger the conservation officer to come.
Wieder said the key to saving bears like this is to call in, because this bear was already to habituated to save.
The conservation officer will try to make the bears town visit as unpleasant as possible to keep it away, but if it’s already learned those behaviours, Wieder said it is most likely too late. The best thing to do is to call the RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) line at 1-8770952-7277 (RAPP) as soon as a bear is sighted.