There are two fewer bears roaming the Adams Lake Indian Reserve Wednesday and conservation officers hope to catch more of the nuisance bruins without bloodshed.
Darcy MacPhee, an acting inspector for the conservation service, said the sow and her cub were spotted within minutes of he and his team arriving at the reserve in the morning.
“They were in an apple tree right dead centre of the community,” MacPhee said during a phone interview from the reserve.
The COs spoke with residents, who told them the bear had not, to their knowledge, fed on garbage, said MacPhee. The animal had also been passive toward the people around her and her cub.
“She was quite easy to push away. She’d targeted one apple tree in an elder’s yard and had taken up residence right there,” he said.
The sow and cub were tranquilized and loaded into holding traps. The bears were ear tagged, driven two hours away from the reserve and released into the wild.
“We have our fingers crossed that she (and the cub) won’t make it back to the community,” said MacPhee. “That’s going to be quite a bit of terrain to cover.”
That leaves between seven or nine bears to go. Officials with the Adams Lake band notified COs late last week about the bears prowling the community on the outskirts of Chase.
For about three weeks the bruins have become increasingly bold, wandering the streets, feeding on garbage and apples to the point where they are no longer scared of people.
Band chief Nelson Leon said the bear is sacred to his people and are included on the band’s official logo. Their preference is none of the animals are killed.
At the same time, having this many bears in the community puts people — especially children — at risk, he said.
“They just aren’t afraid of us anymore,” said Leon.
Earlier this week MacPhee told The Daily News three sows would likely be killed. He said Wednesday each bear that COs catch will be assessed on an animal-by-animal basis.
But droppings have revealed some bears have fed on garbage, and these will need to be put down, he said. Traps are set and band officials have the COs cellphone numbers. The team will return at a moment’s notice.
“We know some of the bears have been acting aggressive to band residents. We got lucky with the first two bears we encountered,” said MacPhee.