'Want another one?' Video of person feeding bear near Tofino sparks probe
Published Tuesday, May 10, 2016 11:35AM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 6:33PM PDT
A video of somebody hand-feeding a black bear on the side of the highway near Tofino is under investigation by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
The video was filmed on Highway 4 and shows a man feeding a small black bear what appears to be a rice cake.
“Want another one there bud?” the person recording asks as he hands the bear the snack. “Just let him go for it,” he tells others after he drops it. Cars can be heard blowing past them in the background.
Feeding bears is illegal under the BC Wildlife Act and carries a minimum ticket of $345 up to a court appearance for intentionally feeding dangerous wildlife.
“It is illegal to feed dangerous wildlife because it’s extremely dangerous for both the public and that bear. It may expect food from somebody else who stops and injure somebody that way,” said Port Alberni conservation officer Daniel Eichstadter.
The bear is also at a higher risk of being struck by a car if it crosses the highway for food, since feeding the animals results in them becoming habituated and food-conditioned, he said.
“It’s putting everybody and that animal at risk and the best thing to do is show that animal some respect and give it some space,” he said. “View it from afar and don’t put other people and that animal at risk.”
The service is now trying to track down the person in the video and the person who posted it to Facebook.
A commenter on a CTV Vancouver Island Facebook post about the bear encounter shared a photo of what she claims are the men who fed the animals on April 30.
“They were feeding the bears a bunch of different snacks," the commenter wrote.
The men were travelling in a green station wagon, she said.
Commenters voiced their displeasure at the video, calling the person who filmed it “stupid” and a “moron.”
“Only one thing comes to mind when I see this,” said Rob Viala. “A fed bear is a dead bear.”
“Yup it’s unlawful…and more than that, it’s incredibly stupid and self-serving,” wrote Kevin Steele.
Anyone with information is asked to call the province’s RAPP line at 1-877-925-7277.
If their tip leads to a conviction, informants may be eligible for up to a $2,000 reward from the BC Wildlife Federation, Eichstadter said.