During the past few weeks, the topic of bear problems on the Sunshine Coast has come up on several occasions.
We told you about the conservation officer having to shoot a number of bears two weeks ago, and it served as a sounding board for several readers in our letters section.
A few months ago, public outcry over the lack of a conservation officer was huge. We had several people write letters condemning the provincial government for cutting back our conservation service.
Now, thanks to several government agencies lobbying on the Coast and even our own MLA Harold Long, a conservation officer was re-established here on the Coast.
Murray Smith has come to town and is doing the best job he can with limited resources.
While it is troubling that Smith had to shoot these bears, for people to suggest it is his fault is ludicrous.
He doesn't want to shoot these bears, but he has no other choice, as it is clear relocation is not an option.
In our opinion, we need to take responsibility for the bear problems.
It is not rocket science, people. Pick the fruit off of your trees, and keep your garbage inside or locked up until pick-up day. Composting should be limited to green, leafy yard waste as opposed to household wastes and back yard bird feeders should be placed at least 15 feet in the air to ensure a bear can't get to them. These are all tips from Smith and have been repeated more than once, but the message seems to be falling on deaf ears.
This has been an exceptional year for bear complaints and not just here on the Sunshine Coast.
The conservation office in the Sea to Sky Corridor has been flooded with complaints and several bears have been shot there as well. The same can be said all over the Lower Mainland.
Earlier this month in Burnaby, a conservation officer shot a bear while it was trying to get into a Safeway store.
The bottom line is we need to take ownership of the role we play in the problem. We can co-exist with the bears if we start taking the proper steps to reduce the encounters.