Wildlife officials were forced to kill a black bear that had become a risk to the public in Waterton Lakes National Park because it had habituated to feeding on human food and garbage left out carelessly, Parks Canada said Thursday.
The young black bear tried to bite unattended backpacks and made contact with a tent while occupants were inside. It also had been seen trying to get inside garbage containers at trail heads, Parks Canada said in a release.
“The bear entered the busy day use area looking for garbage and leaned on a vehicle with people in it,” the release said.
- WATCH | Parks Canada released this video of the bear searching for garbage
That incident had prompted officials to close trails and backcountry campgrounds in the Bauerman Valley, which is accessed from the Red Rock Canyon day use area.
The same bear is later believed to have ripped an unoccupied tent set up by Parks Canada team members.
“Unfortunately, due to the black bear’s excessive level of habituation, food-conditioning, and that it presented a risk to public safety, Parks Canada wildlife experts had to euthanize the animal,” the release said.
It was killed on Monday afternoon.
“This action was taken after carefully considering all other options for keeping the animal on the landscape, while following Parks Canada policies and procedures,” Parks Canada said.
Officials say visitors to the area need to be better about keeping their food secure and their garbage disposed of properly.
“Parks Canada has observed garbage left out at picnic areas, along trails and sitting next to waste bins,” the release said.
“It is important for residents and visitors to remember that they share the surrounding habitat with wildlife and take the steps necessary to keep themselves and wildlife safe.”
A bear warning remains in place for the Bauerman Valley in the national park, located in the southwestern corner of Alberta.