A Whistler resident, Zuzana Stevikova, was fined $60,000 for feeding and attracting bears to her property in a precedent-setting case.
This is the highest overall penalty imposed under the Wildlife Act in B.C. She was sentenced earlier this week in the North Vancouver Provincial Court.
The majority of the penalty will go to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.
The COS launched an investigation in July 2018, after receiving a RAPP line complaint advising the Kadenwood neighbourhood resident had been feeding black bears for some time.
The investigation found that Stevikova had been intentionally feeding black bears throughout the summer of 2018. Bulk produce – including up to 10 cases of apples, 50 pounds of carrots and up to 15 dozen eggs – was purchased on a weekly basis to feed the bears.
These activities created an extraordinary public safety risk by conditioning bears to human food and presence.
In Sept. 2018, Conservation Officers were forced to put down three bears that were repeatedly visiting the area, causing property damage, and exhibiting highly habituated behaviour showing no fear of people.
The non-natural food conditioning ensured these bears were not candidates for rehabilitation or relocation, as the risk to the safety of area residents and visitors was simply far too great.
“The primary concern of the COS is public safety. Illegally feeding or placing attractants to lure dangerous wildlife, such as bears, is an extremely dangerous activity,” said COS Sgt. Simon Gravel. “Once bears learn to associate humans with food, it creates a public safety risk.”