Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Second bear killed in Westwood Plateau 

Friday, August 08, 2008 Stuart Hunter, The Province

The second bear encounter in Coquitlam's Westwood Plateau in as many days may mean Brian Fortune never sleeps in again. "If I had slept in or missed my alarm, I would have been in my apartment when the bear came in," Fortune, 24, said hours after the burly bruin paid an impromptu 7:30 a.m. visit to his basement suite on Turnbury Lane yesterday. "It was one day I was happy that I didn't sleep in." 

The concrete finisher was at work when his landlord called to say a golfer had reported to police spotting a 120-kilogram bear climbing in Fortune's open basement-suite window. "The bear was completely inside the basement suite," said Coquitlam RCMP Const. Sharen Leung. "It was eating at the time." Eventually, it went back outside. 

"In light of [Wednesday's] incident, police took a shot to prevent the bear from being at risk to the public," Leung said, adding the bear was shot in the shoulder area and climbed about halfway to the top of a 30-metre tree in the backyard. Conservation officers then shot the bear with a tranquilizer dart. After about 10 minutes the bear dropped out of the tree. "When the conservation officers approached the bear it started to move," Leung said. "It needed to be destroyed, so police assisted with that matter." 

Neighbour Adel Kassem heard the "five or six" fatal shots. "I've seen lots of bears -- I saw one here in my backyard," said Kassem, an auto-body technician who has lived in the area for four years. "All the neighbours walk their dogs on the trails up there. Now I don't want to go up there." Added neighbor and mother-of-two Natalia Strelkova: "We've seen bears so many times -- almost like every day. It is no surprise at all. We're going to be keeping an eye on our kids." 

Fortune said he was surprised to see how little damage the bear had caused to his suite. "The damage was very minor -- a broken [window] screen, broken blinds and a major gouge in the drywall. I had some fruit on my kitchen counter. It got the bread and nectarines but didn't touch the cantaloupe, oranges or bananas. It definitely loved the nectarines." 

Fortune said he has no plans to lock his windows in future. "I might put my fruit in the refrigerator. I just regret that the bear had to be put down." Fortune said he had not heard about Wednesday's mauling of nearby resident Katy Yin, 49. She was attacked in the front garden of her Bramble Lane home by a black bear but is expected to recover from her injuries. That bear also had to be put down. 

Meanwhile, plumber Neill Wotherspoon reported being attacked by a black bear while working behind a house in Anmore on Tuesday.  "He came up from behind and knocked me down," said the 37-year-old Port Coquitlam resident. "I'm 260 [pounds] and I wasn't getting up. Then he just got up off me and walked away." 

Wotherspoon was treated in hospital for minor shoulder and leg injuries. "I was lucky," he said. "I went out and bought my 6/49 ticket but I didn't win." 

Delusional beings  

Letter, The Vancouver Province Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 

Regarding the recent bear shootings in Coquitlam, the lows of human action never fail to disappoint. 

Imagine your home being stripped away. You're hungry, you're frightened, you're trying to survive and then you're shot dead -- in cold blood, like these bears were. 

And we like to consider ourselves superior beings? Let's not be delusional. 

Any species that single-handedly wipes out all other life forms and the entire planet is the lowest of all, and the one to be feared the most. 

Carmina Gooch, North Vancouver 

Comment:  Sadly, again today (August 13th) a female yearling black bear was shot and killed after entering a home in the District of North Vancouver.

Comment:  The senseless slaughter of bears, whether they be grizzly, black, or any other kind, has the public becoming more and more outraged and willing to speak out on their behalf.  Be an activist, lead by example, get involved, and help save the non-human species of the planet.  Any small victory for the animals is a step forward.  Some letters and news stories:    

August 12, 1998 
North Shore News 

Dear Editor, 

As soon as I read the headline “Deep Cove Bear Shot Dead” I was mortified.  Why?  Because it made the mistake of coming into a residential area looking for food.  It seems all too often “conservation” officers are trigger-happy.  We have expanded into their territory, not they into ours. It’s high time the lives of animals are valued and respected as much as human life seems to be.  As our population explodes we had best quit thinking of ourselves and give the rest of the species on this earth a chance of a future. 

No matter how much Mr. Grindrod defends his decision it was morally and ethically wrong.  A perfectly good life was callously snuffed out.  Totally inexcusable.  

Carmina Gooch
North Vancouver
published  Aug. 21, 1998

August 12, 1998 

Dear Editor, 

My family and I are very upset to read about the two black bears shot on the North shore.  Killing is simply not an option.  The bear In Deep Cove were shot in front of the local kids who had named it “Yogi”.  What kind of message about conservation is this sending to those kids?  The bear accidentally wandered out of its regular habitat and paid the ultimate price.   We feel sorry for all the animals that perish at the hands of the human race.    

Terry Roberge
North Vancouver
(published Aug. 19th, in NS News, (Ed: three) black bears, not 2)

Young bear killed after found wandering in South Burnaby

Saturday, June 02, 2007 Erin Hitchcock, Burnaby Now

BURNABY - Another bear was tranquillized and killed Thursday in Burnaby, the second one in a week.

Kate Thompson of the Ministry of Environment said conservation officers received several reports of a bear wandering in South Burnaby, and eventually caught it near Metrotown. "It was a young male," Thompson said. "It was tranquillized and put down. It wasn't a good candidate for relocation. It had taken the time to stop and get into some garbage." Last Thursday, a bear in North Burnaby was tranquillized and later killed because it had already been tagged last year after wandering into West Vancouver.

Humans are the problem, not the bears

Published: Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Re: Grizzly attacks plague central coast, March 31, Vancouver Sun

The front-page picture of a growling bear with fangs exposed under the headline, "Bear attacks plague central coast," is outrageous in its irresponsibility and bias. The provincial government and hunters will be thrilled. The fact is that bears are extremely intelligent and are losing their habitat. The government is increasing the number of spring hunts that will orphan and subsequently kill many cubs.

The cruelty is insane. Recently I heard about a worker at Grouse Mountain feeding grizzlies apples by hand. And then I pick up The Sun and see a call to arms. What idiots we are.

David Akerly, Vancouver

Grizzlies and other animals will be Olympic losers 

Monday, May 14, 2007 The Vancouver Province 

Why waste another $250,000 on a further environmental study on the impact of ski trails on grizzly bears in the Callaghan Valley, when we all know darn well that Olympic organizers will go ahead, regardless of what the public wants or says?

Even the fact that they're taking down more old-growth forest should outrage people.

It's more than just concern for the bears' habitat; they're not the only ones affected by the destruction of the forests. Lots of animals and birds will lose their homes, their feeding areas and their breeding grounds. The Olympic organizers don't care. The only legacy they and this government will leave will be one of destruction. 
Gale  Harman, Langley

Bear boom builds tension in village

Three yearlings killed as construction, low snowpack drive bears into town

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 Clare Ogilvie, The Province 

WHISTLER -- Three yearling cubs have been killed as the resort enters bear season. Two bears were destroyed by conservation officers for breaking into cars and homes and the third was put down after being hit by a car as it ran across the highway between a local garbage-collection site and the garbage transfer station.

In the village, yearlings are being forced off the mountains because of competition with other bears who are scrapping over smaller grazing areas this year due to low alpine snowpack, Olympic and snow-making construction, and activity in the mountain-bike park. "The bears are going to have a bit of a tense time this year," said Michael Allen, who has been studying the resort's bears for more than 14 years. Allen added that it's a bumper year for cubs and sows, thanks to a strong food supply in 2005-2006.

There is also concern that there will be more bear conflicts as the municipality shuts down its waste transfer station, a popular hangout for bears. The landfill, long a popular site for bear watching, was closed in November 2005. Once dumps are closed, bears tend to look for food close to them, said Allen.

Last month, the municipality sent out a notice to residents in the Spring Creek and Function Junction areas, which are near the garbage transfer station, warning them to make sure there was nothing around their homes and businesses to attract bears.

The bears are already adapting to the change in food sources and are now getting into community recycling bins and learning to knock over and open "bear-proof" garbage bins at local bus stops. "[The bears] seem to keep stepping it up," said Heather Beresford, Whistler's environmental stewardship manager.

The resort is working with its waste contractor to redesign the recycling bins, is monitoring electric fences around the garbage station and parking all garbage trucks inside the fence, she said. "There are still issues with garbage and, as long as bears are able to access garbage, there is going to be conflict," said conservation officer Chris Doyle. "We suspect there will be some more conflict at the Function Junction area as well as at [the nearby site of] the construction site of the Athletes Village."

Last year, nine bears were killed in Whistler -- all male. It's believed another five males died of natural causes. There are at least 81 resident bears in Whistler, including 19 adult females and 20 cubs. To date in the North Shore, complaints are up slightly at 79. In West Vancouver there have been 11 complaints.

Outrage after black bear and cub killed in Whistler

June 3, 2007 By Kate Webb, The Province

A bear-conservation group is fuming after a black bear and her seven-month-old cub were shot in Whistler this month.

The bears were killed after the three-year-old mother entered a home through an open window. Conservation officers said the cub was conditioned to associate humans with food and would grow up to be a conflict bear like mom.

"The cub was destroyed based on the rationale that the entry into buildings is a learned behaviour," said Lance Sunquist of the Conservation Officer Service. But the Get Bear Smart Society said research shows cubs of problem bears are not destined to follow in their parents' footsteps.

"It was just a tiny little thing, and it's nursing from its mother, so of course it's going to be by its mother," said Sylvia Dolson, the society's executive-director, comparing the size of the 10-pound cub to that of a house cat. "She paid for her mother's behaviour with her own life."

A study soon to be published in the Journal of Mammalogy, entitled "Using genetic relatedness to investigate how conflict behaviour is acquired in black bears," says there is no proof a cub will follow in its mother's footsteps. "To say that it was preordained that this cub was going to become a conflict animal, there's simply no basis for that statement," said John Beecham, one of the authors.

Beecham, an American PhD bear specialist, said the paper is based on research in California's Yosemite National Park, and near Lake Tahoe. Similar to Whistler, both areas are known for lots of tourists and lots of bears. "There was no way that you could predict, based on the behaviour of the female, what the outcome would be for the cub," said Beecham. "We had to reject our hypothesis. Our hypothesis was that we could tell, but we in fact couldn't. We couldn't predict whether they would become problem animals."

Beecham said the assumption that bear cubs learn problem behaviour from their mothers is intuitive, but based on bad science. He said the environment ministry should stop killing cubs. "I wouldn't describe the opinion of the B.C. officials as unusual," he said. "I would say it's probably pretty well accepted, but it's not based on science." Tony Hamilton, the ministry's large-predator expert, is reading Beecham's report.   "I can tell you that it runs contrary to my knowledge and experience," he said.

"It only makes sense to me that a cub learns from its mother. That's why they spend so much time together. But I respect Beecham's work and I'm going to have a careful look at the paper." He described Beecham as a long-time friend and colleague, adding that, "John's gradually winning me over with new information."

He said the ministry is reviewing its policies and if Beecham's study proves convincing, a new, cub-friendly policy could be in place in six months.

Driving animals to extinction 

Thursday, July 19, 2007 Vancouver Province 

We welcome everyone to Beautiful British Columbia, yet there is no legislation to protect our vanishing wildlife. It seems the stewards of our environment, wildlife and natural resources are game guides and gun-store owners.

How can it be that, when we are trying to protect and preserve this planet from extinction, we have brain-dead people in control of these precious resources?
Last year, B.C. had a $4.1 billion surplus, and now we are trying to increase this by selling hunting licences and further depleting our wildlife.

We are already driving them to extinction by encroaching on the land. And now we are going to have children out there stalking our animals. Have we not destroyed enough of our planet already? Gordon Worth, North Saanich

Comment:  We've driven the highway to Whistler a number of times and have been lucky enough to have spotted black bears, like this yearling.  Unfortunately, there's a lot of construction going on in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics.  The odds of this bear living to a ripe old age is probably zero. 


Alberta wildlife officers kill 12 bears at dump  

The Province August 14, 2009
Bears at a landfill near Conklin, Alberta. 

EDMONTON — Wildlife officers shot and killed 12 black bears at a landfill in northern Alberta on Tuesday in what is believed to be the largest bear cull in recent history. 

People from the hamlet of Conklin, population 166, regularly bring their children to the dump to watch, photograph and feed the bears, and the animals had become accustomed to people. “The landfill had improper fencing and there were reports people were feeding the bears,” Alberta Sustainable Resource Development spokesman Darcy Whiteside said. “It was public safety concern. These bears were not afraid of humans anymore.” But critics said the mass killing was inexcusable. 

“Instead of investing in fences that would keep the bears out of the garbage and away from humans, they decide the cheapest solution is to lay to waste a bunch of living animals as if they didn’t have a right to exist. It’s really deplorable,” said Sid Marty, a park warden turned activist who recently published a book about a garbage-seeking grizzly who mauled five people in Banff, Alta., in the early 1980s, killing one. “What are they going to, shoot every bear that comes to the dump until the end of time?” 

On Aug. 5, the ministry received a bear complaint from the PTI Conklin Lodge, a housing complex for about 300 oilsands workers, about two kilometres from the dump. Fred Bannon, vice-president of operations, said the manager called fish and wildlife officers after he saw five bears climbing on decks and hanging around the buildings. The bears were killed Aug. 11. 

A Conklin resident who wished to remain anonymous was outraged when he heard the bears were killed instead of relocated, and contacted The Edmonton Journal. “It’s totally inhumane. We are in their environment, there are no fences, this dump is unmanned, there are no signs to say don’t feed the bears,” he said. 

The ministry is currently working with communities as part of its new Bear Smart education campaign, he said, and Conklin is on the list of future communities to work with. In the meantime, officers will be monitoring the area and making sure people don’t go to the dump to visit the bears. He said Alberta Environment and the municipality are responsible for ensuring proper fencing is in place to protect bears and humans. “The fencing issue has been addressed with the municipality. It’s not our responsibility to build the fence around the landfill.”

The Province Carmina  August 14, 2009 - 12:06 PM 

You have more to fear from the people among us than you do anything else and yet we squander millions of tax dollars on keeping them alive. It's always the animal that pays the price for human stupidity and it looks like we're well on our way to killing off every other species and our entire planet.  What a bunch of idiots we are.

August 18, 2009 

From: Carmina Gooch
To: Ted Morton, MLA
Cc: Sustainable Resource Development
Re: Outrage over mass bear murders 

Dear Mr. Morton, 

I am writing to add my voice to the growing number of people outraged over the senseless murder of 12 young black bears feeding at the dump near Conklin.  On August 11, "wildlife officers" blasted away the lives of these bears because of a perceived danger to the public and because they had grown unafraid of humans.  It's been said that man is the most dangerous of all, and once again the actions of these thugs with guns proves it. 

Dave Ealey, spokesperson for SRD, says that on average 280 bears are killed per year in Alberta.  Something's terribly wrong.  With some simple proactive measures, like BearSmart education, regular patrols of the area, and proper fencing, the bears didn't have to die.  The provincial BearSmart program clearly states that one of the goals is "helping bear populations survive."  

We've encroached on their habitat, and must learn to live in harmony with nature.  Surely, other species' lives are just as valuable as we like to think ours are, and strong efforts must be made to protect all wildlife.  That should be the job of Fish and Wildlife, not that of exterminator. 

Ontario SRD spokesperson, Jolanta Kowalski, says that the laws of that province forbids trapping or hunting of bears by anyone within 400 metres of a landfill, "conservation" officers included.  Rather, specially equipped paintball guns are used to scare them away. 

No matter what the explanation, the slaughter of the bears was unjustified.  Hopefully, there will be quick government action on this matter and the other 4 bears currently at risk in Conklin will not be assassinated.   

Sincerely, Carmina Gooch (personal info removed)

July 18, 2011 B.C. Conservation officers opting to shoot bears, not relocate.
That was the title of a recent article in The Province.

Last year, 657 black bears were killed by conservation officers, including 62 on Vancouver Island. Another 111 were relocated and 30 cubs sent for rehabilitation. The five-year average is 614 black bears destroyed and 104 relocated.

Risk to humans is the sole consideration when a conservation officer decides whether to kill an animal, said Tom Clark, conservation service head. The article:

The Province July 17, 2011 Carmina Gooch’s letter published:

Most dangerous animal

Our wildlife is being decimated at an alarming rate and we have only ourselves to blame.

You'd never know that Homo sapiens is Latin for "wise man." With our ability to reason and problem solve, why is killing still the method of choice? If it's a risk to public safety that's so concerning, let's face it, man is the most dangerous animal of all.

Carmina Gooch, North Vancouver

September 6, 2013 It’s not hunting, and a grizzly head and paws are not trophies

Sept 2015 Fear of Sharks? A Comment on Aggression and Compassion in Humans and Animals (the tragic victims of the senseless & cruel 'hunting' industry)

Related: Poaching and Pit-lamping BC; the blood continues to flow; pregnant rhino massacred; trophy victims, US dentist lures & assassinates Cecil the lion; Pedals, upright walking bear, murdered

BC Grizzly Hunt Bolstered by Spurious Science; COs execute family of bears; 2017 BC bans grizzly bear 'trophy' hunting

Getting humans to live in harmony with wildlife; BC gov't offers 'special hunts'

Moose calf chased and beaten by kids with sticks is put down; morons drive moose to death; report acts of cruelty

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