The bow-legged bear that was twice removed from Ladysmith has been euthanized following an examination by a wildlife veterinarian.
“Based on the video of its actions, its indifference to people and the fact it came right back to town, she made the determination to euthanize it,” BC Conservation Officer Stuart Bates said. “I’ve been a CO for a long time and I’ve never seen a bear act like that.”
Bates said there was no evidence that the bear was trying to get into garbage cans or other food sources.
“I watched it walk within feet of garbage and compost bins — it didn’t even look at them,” he said.
The bear was around five years old and was half the size she should have been for her age. As for the bow-leg, the bear had an injury that healed leaving her with a limp.
“This bear was put down purely because of its health. It had obvious health issues and the vet thought releasing it into the wild would be cruel at this stage,” Bates said.
Conservation officers relocated the bear from Ladysmith to the back of Haslam Creek, approximately 25 kilometres out of town. When bears are relocated far away from the area where they live, fatality rates increase. Healthy bears usually remain in the wilderness after being relocated.
“We use short-distance relocations to get the bear out of a situation where it’s caught in a pickle and it just can’t figure out how to get out of town. That was the situation on Friday,” Bates said. “The other reason we don’t take them far away is because what if the bear did have a parasite in it? Then we’ve taken it from the one water system it was in and put it in another one.”
“And in some cases relocating them is crueller,” he added.
Tissue samples from the bear have been sent for testing to determine if the bear had any illnesses. A full necropsy is being conducted and will take months to complete.
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