In a recent social media video that has stirred widespread anger, a black bear feasting on fish along the shores of Campbell River is shown being pestered by a group of individuals.
The incident, captured and posted online by Blake Pedersson, has ignited outrage not only among online viewers but also within the local community on Vancouver Island.
The video, dated seven weeks ago but recently gaining attention, depicts a group of people with fishing gear closely approaching the bear as it enjoys its meal at the river’s edge.
Shockingly, some members of the group get within inches of the animal, posing for selfies and taking photos.
Towards the end of the footage, one individual even attempts to pet the bear, prompting a stern warning from an onlooker on a nearby bridge.
While neither the bear nor the man attempting to touch it seem harmed in the video, the online response has been one of unanimous condemnation. Viewers expressed their outrage, with comments ranging from disbelief to calls for repercussions against the individuals involved.
The Ministry of Environment clarified that no offense under the Wildlife Act occurred as there was no evidence of the bear being fed. Additionally, the act doesn’t categorize the behavior as harassment, as it typically involves the use of motor vehicles, aircraft, boats, or other mechanical devices.
However, residents are deeply upset by the group’s actions, fearing that such encounters could lead to the bear being euthanized or relocated if they become habituated to human proximity. Wildlife experts, including Lisa Lopez from WildSafeBC, emphasize the importance of giving wild animals space, allowing them to enjoy their natural behaviors without interference.
The concern among locals is that such incidents might mislead others into thinking it’s acceptable to approach and interact with bears in Campbell River. Marsha Vickers, a resident who was hiking along the river, voiced her worry about potential repercussions, stating that habituated bears could pose a threat to people, leading to drastic measures such as euthanization.
WildSafeBC program manager Lisa Lopez suggested that the bear was likely attracted to the area due to the presence of salmon. She emphasized the need for people to maintain a safe distance and allow the bear the space and time to finish its meal without feeling threatened.
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This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by One Green Planet on 25 November 2023. Image Credit :Ben McMurtray/Shutterstock.