For your safety and especially theirs, don’t feed the bears.

The MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre is warning people to stop doing just that.

In a Facebook post on Friday, the centre says it has received reports that people waiting in line for the Highway work along Kennedy Lake on the way to Tofino have been feeding a local black bear that is in the area. 

It says that is a “very bad idea” for a number of reasons: 

  • A black bear may look safe, but it is a wild animal;
  • The person feeding the bear may be at risk of an attack;
  • Feeding the bear conditions it to accept food from people, so other people are at risk of an attack when they refuse food to the bear; and
  • Feeding the bear is putting the bear at high risk of having to be euthanized because it’s become a problem bear or it has attacked someone.

The number of bears destroyed by the BC Conservation Service in July jumped considerably from the previous year.

B.C. government statistics show that 55 bears were destroyed by conservation officers last month, compared to 32 last July.

In June, 81 bears were destroyed by the service.

Bears are destroyed by conservation officers in response to reports of human-wildlife conflict.

The volume of black bear reports has spiked, too.

Province-wide, there were 2,565 calls to the COS in July compared to 1,651 a year ago.