Conservation officers have some harsh words for residents after two bears that became habituated to neighbourhood garbage on the mid-island were destroyed.

The bears were destroyed within days of each other on Central Vancouver Island, according to the BC Conservation Officer Service.

Acting Sgt. Steve Ackles says one of the bears was seen walking down the street in the middle of the afternoon going through garbage cans.

“There were some young children on the other side of the street where the bear was,” said Ackles.

No one was hurt, but because the bear appeared indifferent to people and habituated to garbage it had to be killed, he said.

On Sunday, a second bear was shot and killed near Bowser.

“This one was going into chicken coops, and actually went into the chicken coop when the owner was in it,” said Ackles.

In both cases conservation officers pulled the trigger, but they say they’re not the ones to blame for the animals’ deaths – the public is.

“They’re not doing the right things with their attractants,” he said. “They want the bird feeders, they don’t clean their barbecues, the garbage is out before the morning of pickup and the green bins are another thing that have to be treated like garbage.”

In Chase River, bear sightings and the trails the animals are leaving behind are becoming an almost daily occurrence, and diligent neighbours have an idea why.

“You see quite often on food waste day, the bins are out the night before,” said resident Linda Janes.

Jamie Dunnett, who filmed one bear taking a midnight stroll for garbage to snack on, said it’s been a long-standing problem in the area.

“I saw the bears on our street going for some compost. They also went for some garbage, from unfortunately some of the neighbours who had been leaving garbage out for years,” he said.

Ackles said people who leave out garbage and other attractants need to take responsibility for what happens when a bear becomes habituated.

“People have to look at this problem and look at the animals in the eyes, and realize they are responsible for the death of that animal,” he said.

Conservation officers warn they’ll be in problem neighbourhoods issuing $375 fines to those refusing to put away their unsecured garbage. 

With a report from CTV Vancouver Island's Jessica Lepp