Morgan Cross/News staff
Just before 1 p.m. on Friday, July 14, Central Saanich Police received complaints from residents in the Tanner Ridge area about a wandering black bear. The three-year-old male was found by police and conservation officers up a cedar tree that afternoon. The bear was tranquilized before conservation officers deemed euthanization the appropriate course of action.
Conservation officer Mark Kissinger said in a media interview that the bear had become “habituated” to the neighbourhood, relying on garbage as a food source and showing in the neighbourhood during the day. Bears that become habituated to urban areas are prone to returning to them from the wild, presenting a public safety issue.
Corporal Dan Cottingham, community engagement officer for Central Saanich Police, told the PNR bear sightings in the Tanner Ridge area are unusual, though several have been spotted in the area in the past month. Typically, cougars are more common.
“We always seem to get a handful of mostly cougars,” Cottingham said.
For cougars, he added, there are not many measures residents or farmers can take to prevent the animals from preying on deer and livestock; though bears can be discouraged from habituating urban areas with proper care.
Cottingham advises residents, “Keep garbage contained and don’t leave things around that a bear might get into.”
If a bear or cougar is seen, call a local police department. Cottingham said, “That way we can come out and try and assess whether or not there are any people at risk. We can make sure we notify the appropriate people.”