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Mother bear and two cubs killed in Port Moody

The bears had been getting into garbage on Heritage Mountain since last fall and posed a safety risk, conservation officers say - a trap has been set for a third yearling bear
Bears Conservation Officer Service
Four bears, a sow and two cubs, were killed by conservation officers in Port Moody early this morning because of concerns they had become habituated to human garbage. The bears got into a garage on Heritage Mountain but there had been complaints about them since last fall and they weren't seen as good candidates for relocation.

A sow and two bear cubs that had been entering yards, garages and knocking down waste carts in the Heritage Mountain area of Port Moody were shot by conservation officers early Thursday morning.

The incident comes just days after a Port Moody resident videoed a trio of yearling bears frolicking together on Forest Park Way. The bear unit that was destroyed is likely the same group that was depicted in the video on the city's website and various media outlets but had also been been the source of complaints to conservation officers since last fall.

The third yearling cub climbed a tree, the Ministry of Environment says, and a trap has been set for it.

"It's really sad," said Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay in a telephone conversation with TheTri-City News from Montreal where he is representing Metro Vancouver at an affordable housing conference.

"We need people to be aware that they live in bear country and be more careful when handling waste."

Clay's comments are backed up by reports from the B.C. Conservation Officer Service that confirmed the shooting.

Insp. Murray Smith said conservation officers were called by the Port Moody police at midnight after a complaint the bruins had accessed a garage where a door had been left open and were getting into garbage.

The sow had an ear tag, which indicated that she had been a conflict bear previously and was relocated, and the family unit had been a source of complaints since the fall, said Smith, who is the south coast supervisor for the conservation officer service.

"Last fall in September and October, there were numerous reports of these bears getting into garbage, breaking into residential structures to access garbage and they were in around the same subdivision [where they were found on Thursday]"

Smith said the conservation officers had to make a difficult decision but their hand was forced when the bears resumed their problem behavior after emerging from their den in March.

"These type of bears are not good candidates for relocation because of the connection with people. They look at people as a source of food; that's a bad combination," Smith said, adding that the conservation officers do not like having to destroy bears.

"It's really a difficult situation for the officer but the bottom line is safety, a focus on public safety, that is our primary mandate,' he said.

Meanwhile, the woman who videoed the bear family said she is upset to learn about their death.

Elle Brovold said she spotted the family on her way home from the ferry at about 1:30 a.m.Tuesday and had to stop her car to avoid hitting them.

"It's awful they had to be put down. They were just so cute and lively."

The video was posted to the City of Port Moody website to remind people to take steps to co-exist safely with bears.

As of Thursday afternoon, the video was still up at Moody.

This is the time of year when the bruins typically eat grass and new shoots but will eat human garbage if it is easy to get. That's why cities have garbage bylaws in place to prevent people from leaving their garbage and green carts out over night.

Clay said more than 100 people attended the city's Bear Essentials meeting Wednesday night, adding that he hopes it's a good sign that people are taking seriously their responsibility in co-exist safely with bears.

This story has been corrected, an earlier version said four bears had been killed.

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