Bear euthanized after MacDonald Road rummaging

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By Jocelyn Turner

Amherst Daily News

AMHERST – A female black bear rummaging near a local hospital and around peoples yards has been euthanized.

Terry Moore a fire technician with the Department of Natural Resources said they received multiple complaints from residents in the MacDonald Road, which neighbours the Northumberland Regional Health Care Centre, and Burns Drive area.

“Some had said it was in their yard, some said their composters and some said it was trying to get into their sheds. So we set a live trap around July 4,” said Moore.

Moore and his team did in fact trap the nosy bear Friday in the MacDonald Road area. The bear was a young female bear, Moore guessed to be one or two-years-old. Due to her constant presence around the residential area, the bear was unable to be relocated.

“Unfortunately, when a bear is like that, it’s a public safety concern and she was euthanized,” said Moore.  “With that many complaints, and the concern of public safety, where it cited that children were involved, we don’t really have much choice when they come into contact with humans like that. Normally, we can relocate them but it just depends. We can only release so many bears in an area.”

Regional biologist with DNR Kim George receives many of the phone complaints about bear sightings. She said the number of sightings has not increased, but she advises any callers on how to keep bears away from their yard.

“We discuss with people on how to look after any attractions on their properties, like their garbage and their green carts,” she said. “People should try and keep their garbage in a shed and try to keep their composters cleaned out. Anything that is really smelly can draw them in.”

Moore said the improper maintenance of the green bins could be one of the reasons causing bears to get a bit bolder and visit residential homes.

“What we found is more people are complaining (the green carts) are what they are getting into.”

Moore said residents should take preventative measures to make sure that, even if a bear has come for a visit, to rid the yard of bear-attracting smells.

“The easiest way (to clean) the green cart is if you put one part bleach and nine parts water, just mix the solution up and mix it around the bin,” said Moore. “There are holes in the bottom, so what ever you put in there will drip through. It wouldn’t hurt to maybe, around the area where the green been was, to take some soap and water or anything to eliminate the smell.”

Euthanizing a bear is always the last resort. Moore said he and other members of DNR have to take public safety into consideration and sometimes, euthanization is the only option.

“We don’t like doing it but we don’t always have much choice in the matter,” he said. “Once they get into a pattern it’s hard to break them. Unfortunately, once they get a taste for human food… there’s not really much you can do.”

Although bear sightings are not uncommon in townships, Moore said residents should remember humans are living on land that was original occupied by wild animals.

“We’re kind of in their backyard, not the other way around,” he said. “We have to remember that. It’s with any animal, too. They are wild and they were roaming here probably before we were.”

Organizations: Daily News, Department of Natural Resources, Northumberland Regional Health Care Centre

Geographic location: MacDonald Road

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Recent comments

  • Jasonoutsideamherst
    July 19, 2012 - 11:44

    I heard about the bear before it was trapped.Also heard there was a cub hit on the Trans Canada right by the MacDonald Rd.There is no reason whatsoever that the bear should have been killed.NONE!!!!The DNR could have just as easily released the bear in the area they took it to be killed,the bone yard in little river.Lots of area for them to roam out there.As soon as I heard that the county was getting green bins I said theres gonna be some problems with bears.Wonder why the DNR can kill a bear but won't give out nuisance permits to hunters or trapers like they used to?I would have atleast put the meat to good use.Why does the DNR ignore the blueberry farmers slaughter of bears every year?Gut shot to run off and die.Issure permits to huntes in the areas to harvest the bears off the blueberries and use the meat.I would gladly pay for the permits to harvest a bear or two.$$$$$ in their pockets instead of wasted money on trapping and killing a bear for nothing!!!!!!!!!!

  • GreenBin
    July 16, 2012 - 13:46 we know how to clean our green bins,thanks for that a joke.That bear could have been relocated in a safe area,but "Mighty mouse saved the day",Amherst needed a hero I guess

  • Rube
    July 15, 2012 - 09:44

    Well if they put the bear lic back on with deer lick -stop trying make $$ you cut population down than when you get a bear in town you can remove it to a safe place. They created the problem when they took bear lic off the deer lic. also nooneminds when bear is shot in a blue berry field Kind odd>?

  • ralphjohnson
    July 14, 2012 - 10:37

    Some had said it was in their yard, some said their composters and some said it was trying to get into their sheds. So we set a live trap around July 4,” said Moore. Why not clean up attractants then? Habituation is a tricky thing to diagnose in black bears. Generally problems are a function of natural food availability not habituation to a food source or people. We are so close to having natural foods in the woods, given another week this bear likely would have moved on. I don't envy DNR's task but black bear management takes experience, I certainly don't here it from DNR. Having said that bears are certainly not rare in N.S, it's just that problem bears are a lot rarer than people think, including DNR. We plant blueberries and then trap or shoot bears that come to feed on what is a natural food source, we put out rotting food(bins) when natural foods are scarce then scream and whine when we have a bear. Really it's not a complex problem to figure, the solutions complexity lies within human nature. I hear a lot of fear about black bears in these posts, I think this fear is programming people get as kids. Bears are like snakes and mice, humans often have a strong fear response without even knowing the animal. I guess you just have to look at all the fatal bear attacks and human injuries that have occurred in Nova Scotia given the thousands of yearly encounters - 0. People likely kill 100 plus a year in the name of human safety. Reality is often lost when humans misunderstand wildlife, given their size and power, bears warrant respect but certainly not fear. If and when there is ever a human related injury, like the coyote incident, that will likely be linked back to mistakes we made, not the animal.

  • Wayne
    July 14, 2012 - 08:09

    No attempts to relocate the bear??? That doesn't sound reasonable. However I suspect like many government activities budgets are limited and shrinking. Seems just because people see a bear they fear it will be a major hazard. Bears are wild unpredictable creatures and comfort around humans is a risk factor but surely we are not still in the day where we eradicate all predators out of ignorance.

  • Sheldon from Dartmouth
    July 14, 2012 - 07:13

    It always saddens me when a bear has to be destroyed. This young bear was most likely put out this spring by momma bear and was spending it's fist summer fending for itself. We (the slobs we are) put out many attractants in our yards which send out dinner bell signals to wildlife. Green bins, bird feeders, gardens dirty bbq's and pet foods all have a smell which can and does carry on the breeze. Add in several day of hot weather and it only makes it more intense. A bear can detect this smells for up to a couple km away and figures here a free meal, don't blame the young bear. In the summer time buy the paper compost bags and freeze our compost until garbage day place the frozen bags in the green bin the morning of or evening before collection. No mess, no smell and for you lady's out there NO Maggots either. Bears are not the only animal we have roam through our yards, you'll see the red squirrel, raccoon's, deer, red fox, coyote, skunks and a few other you might not even know live in this province. All wild animals can be dangerous but when given some space and respect and we humans do what we can to not encourage them to visit we will hardly see them. Now for all you out there who don't know and run around with your blinders on, there has NEVER been a reported bear attack here in Nova Scotia. Our bears tend to be a little more shy around people but will when they feel threatened bluff charge and appear aggressive. keep calm folks and when safe get your camera and take some pictures. Bears truly are a beautiful and amazing creature.

  • disney
    July 14, 2012 - 05:44

    people are becoming more disconnected with reality as time goes on. these are wild animals, not like the ones you see in the wonderful world of disney. who are the lazy ones? do some research before you run your mouths. just a matter of time before someone gets hurt. it will happen. there is nothing that exempts ns, then you can blame dnr for that too. the alternative to killing the bear is for people to freeze their compost till pick up day and keep there bins clean. and get rid of all attractants like bird feeders, time for people to accept responsibility here. look at the research, relocating not an option here. dnr guys left to deal with residents laziness. look on their website it has some good info.

  • Brandy
    July 12, 2012 - 11:47

    I am not about to blame the DNR for what they had to do with this bear but what i don't agree with is that this is the first time i have heard of them trapping and killing the bear because of it being a threat to public saftey yet when I myself have called them and had them ripping apart my gazebo and mail box and climing all over my car and laying at the foot of my front steps in broad day light eating grass they didn't seem too concerned even though i have three kids and three dogs. I guess and individual has to take things upon them selves if we don't live in a heavily populated area. I thought i was considered part of the public as well and our lives were awful for 5 years of having bear in our yard every year. We spent our summers inside because the bear were not scared in the least. DNR said to shoot them with a rubber built. Ok Let's just tick them off i don't think so. The year when everything was destroyed on my property they left the trap there for one week the bait didn't even get a chance to start to stink and attract the bear. They came to remove the trap and a week later the bears came back. I took it upon myself to find someone to get a nuscences license and get rid of it. This hunter and his brother shot two bear with in an hour of bating their barrel. The DNR in my opinion don't know how to properly handle these situations and I don't think it right that they will only try hard for a very populated area. Any bear is a threat when they are that close to your home. Everyone should have equal right to have the DNR help them but that isn't the case for my situation.

  • Jack On The Rocks
    July 12, 2012 - 09:30

    Whawhawha,you're all blaming DNR.I wonder what you'd be saying if the bear was in your backyard??????I realize we have cut down their houses,but sometimes there are no other choices....Not in my Backyard is what you all sound like....

  • Jennifer Cormier
    July 12, 2012 - 09:05

    A very sad story indeed. I agree with all of these comments, and as we would with dogs, why not address the human behavior which leads to unwanted animal behavior. In addition to thinning habitats, a great point, the green compost bins are clearly a BIG part of the problem as well. Composting in itself is wonderful, but to have people put left over carcasses and vegetables in Plastic, no less, bins and live with it for two full weeks while it rots - I mean, talk about attracting bears with smells! Furthermore, with the various other animals who track through it, spreading disease as they go, a weekly pick up should be minimal for the health and well being of everyone. Having said that, there will be no saving this bear, and one question which immediately pops into my mind is, is there not a zoo in the world that would be willing to provide a home for her . . . as a last resort?

  • sueb
    July 12, 2012 - 08:17

    I've heard that it's really difficult to relocate bears because they can travel long distances to find their way back to the original location. Also, I wonder about the impact on the bear's survival if relocated too far away - a strange habitat might make it difficult to find food. Third, the bear is actually encroaching on human habitat in search of an easy meal - this isn't really a case of a new development being built in the bear's habitat; these houses have been there longer than this particular bear. However, having said all of this, I find myself really uncomfortable with the notion of killing this perfectly healthy animal for no reason other than it is annoying humans. It seems like there must be other ways to discourage the bear from coming around human dwellings. What about dogs? There's nothing like a barking dog to deter a bear. I realize that not everybody wants to own a dog, but surely a dog could be "borrowed" for a couple of days to give the bear the scare of its life. The reason this bear is coming around homes is because it's an easy source of food - it might not seem so easy if a big dog kicked up a huge fuss every time the bear got a bit too close.

  • Steve from Amherst
    July 12, 2012 - 08:03

    So many bloody experts. I for am glad that the DNR is not run by committee, or this wild animal would have killed someone, now that would have been a REAL shame. You people need to give your heads a shake, let the experts do thier jobs. IMHO as always

  • Bubba Jay
    July 12, 2012 - 00:33

    With at least 5 truckloads of logs pulling through town daily, there won't be a stretch of woods left in N.S. for any wild animal to live in. The word I am hearing lately is the bear count is way up, but they are not saying because bears sheltered by woods today are homeless tomorrow.

  • crystal
    July 11, 2012 - 22:32

    I find the trend of DNR (and I am talking of nationwide) killing instead of relocating animals- disturbing. Tranquilizing and/or trapping seems to be a thing of the past. I believe that it should be an absolute last resort to kill an animal just because it is doing what it needs to do - search for food. We've moved into their habitats, in many instances, and we are making them pay for that. A two year old bear's life cut short - shame on you!

  • bill
    July 11, 2012 - 21:24

    they should have taken the bear to a river hebert and released on natural resourse land like they use to the man who killed the bear should be charged and loose his job what a province we live in

  • peterpickmeupinachoppermckay
    July 11, 2012 - 20:34

    Dear Leslie....your right next time we'll load the bear onto a transport plane and air drop the bear onto sable island where it can run free with the horses......nh gg.

  • BS
    July 11, 2012 - 20:27

    what BS. they COULD have relocated the bear. i,ve seen it done more then once. no reason to kill that bear. just damn lazy. DNR should hang there heads. something should be done about this. i,m sure animal rights would like to know how cumberland county let this happen. pisses me off that they had the bear trapped. and killed it...... drive it far in the woods let it go.. MORONS

  • Leslie
    July 11, 2012 - 17:22

    I think this is just horrible! they have been here longer than we have been. Why not put up fences or trap the bear in a humane way, then relocate it to the woods? I think they were to quick to jump the gun, litterally! A bear might not be a pet, but it too has a life. What if we were walking in someones backyard? do they shoot us or let us go on our way then put up a fence. This really ticks me off because we are taking their land and then killing them for being where they once lived freely. Either learn to co-exist with these beautiful animals, build a fence, or move and give them back their land!

  • another
    July 11, 2012 - 16:57

    Really?!last resort measures were could have relocated her to another remote was just easier to aim n shoot.....typical for cumberland county