Sad end to Kimberley grizzly story

One bear shot near Marysville Elementary; one captured and relocated

The two grizzlies climb fruit trees in a Knighton Road back yard on Tuesday evening.

The two grizzlies climb fruit trees in a Knighton Road back yard on Tuesday evening.

The two grizzly bears who have been cruising around Kimberley and Marysville for well over a week are no more.

Conservation Officers captured one bear and were forced to euthanize the other as it was running around in the Marysville Elementary School yard Tuesday morning just as students were beginning to arrive for the day.

CO Joe Carravetta says there simply was no choice in putting one bear down given where they were.

“One was captured in a trap by the school but the other was running around. Kids were just starting to show up. The other one was running around not too far from the school. We had to euthanize it. We hate to do it but the safety of the kids has to come first.”

Carravetta says that the captured bear was ear-tagged and relocated about 20 km up the St. Mary Valley, which is its suspected home range.

However, Carravetta doesn’t hold out a lot of hope the bear will stay put, and if it returns to Kimberley, he says it has run out of chances — it will have to be put down.

“We do suspect it will return. These bears were three years old, brothers. It’s very difficult to relocate males. The bigger males already have the territory and the older females won’t want it around. We took it up St. Mary’s about 12 miles. It should know the territory, but if it comes back it’s doomed to be habituated.”

Carravetta suspects that the two grizzlies were already habituated to Kimberley.

“There bears have been hanging around the edges of town for at least a month, probably feeding on berries. But when those berries dried up they moved into town and started eating fruit. Once the fruit was gone they’d be into garbage. They were starting to come out in the daylight hours. The first reports were only seeing them late at night or early morning but they were starting to appear in daylight.”