Charges are pending the case of two men who appeared in a video feeding rice cakes to a black bear near Tofino, and other incidents of people feeding bears along B.C. highways continue to come in, says the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
The problem of “bear jams” with motorists stopping to approach bears and in some cases illegally attempting to feed them is continuing, Deputy Chief Chris Doyle said Thursday. Whistler is one of the largest problem areas, but dangerous situations occur on many B.C. highways as hungry bears emerge from hibernation and eat grass along roadsides.
Bear incidents are frequent in B.C. at this time of year, and the number varies with the availability of natural food sources for bears and the security of garbage and other food attractants in populated areas.
Doyle said the Conservation Officer Service has responded to 3,400 human-wildlife conflicts since April 1, with 342 charges laid and 500 warnings issued.
About 250 of those charges and warnings were issued after an enforcement blitz on the Victoria Day long weekend, for incidents including unlicensed driving, illegal hunting and fishing, loaded firearms in vehicles, illegal bonfires, littering and “mud bogging” with off-road vehicles.
Charges and investigations from the last two weeks include:
• Two men were convicted of selling wild deer meat near Cache Creek. One sold packaged deer meet to an undercover officer, and the other attempted to sell a whole deer he had taken while prohibited from hunting.
• A Kamloops man was fined $2,000 for shooting a moose out of season in the North Okanagan in 2014. He was also prohibited from hunting for three years and forfeited his rifle.
• Investigation continues into the discovery of butchered black bear parts found in a garbage bin at a park on the Surrey-Langley border on May 31. Doyle said it was not yet determined if the decomposing remains still contained the gall bladder or other parts that are illegally sold.
• A Lower Mainland man was fined $2,300 for being in unregistered possession of an Asian water monitor, a large and venomous reptile that is classified as a controlled alien species in B.C. Doyle said the lizard was discovered when it clawed its way out of a shipping container.
Here is a video of one of the lizards being kept as a pet by a California man.