Terrace conservation officers relocated a Spirit bear far into the wilderness to keep it away from human residential areas.
The bear got into a freezer situated outside a cabin in Rosswood, a small rural community north of Terrace, said Tracy Walbauer of the Terrace Conservation Officer Service.
“I’m not sure if he actually fed on anything in the freezer, but there was fish in the freezer and then we intervened immediately,” he said.
Conservation officers moved the bear about 50 km further into the wilderness.
“It’s still within its home range, so it could work its way back, but its got a big home range,” Walbauer said.
Walbauer said the bear is about 15 years old and has likely roamed the area for years.
“We believe it’s probably a 15-year-old bear, maybe 16 years old, based on his size, his teeth, and reports of a big Kermode bear in the area for that long,” he said, noting that the bear was large. “It was a big bear for sure. Probably 350 lbs. to 400 lbs.”
Spirit bears, also known as Kermode bears, are black bears with white fur resulting from a rare genetic mutation. They are primarily found in northern B.C.
Because Spirit bears are rare, conservation officers are far more likely to relocate them instead of killing them when they become too close to humans.
“When we catch them, we immobilize them, we look at them, make sure they’re in good shape, there’s no injuries, there’s no abscessed teeth or anything like that, and if they’re a candidate for being moved … that’s what we do,” Walbauer said. “Especially with Kermodes. We don’t do that with black bears. Conflict black bears we typically dispatch.”