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.”