Whistler resident fined $60,000 after feeding black bears with bulk groceries

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A woman from Whistler, B.C. was convicted and sentenced for feeding black bears in her neighbourhood during the summer of 2018. (Robert F. Bukaty/The Associated Press - image credit)
A woman from Whistler, B.C. was convicted and sentenced for feeding black bears in her neighbourhood during the summer of 2018. (Robert F. Bukaty/The Associated Press - image credit)

A woman from Whistler, B.C., has been fined the highest penalty under B.C.'s Wildlife Act for repeatedly feeding black bears.

Zuzana Stevikova was sentenced in North Vancouver Provincial Court earlier this week and has been penalized $60,000 in the precedent-setting case.

According to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, Stevikova had been purchasing up to 10 cases of apples, 50 pounds of carrots, and 15 dozen eggs on a weekly basis to feed black bears during the summer of 2018.

Conservation officers were tipped off in July 2018, after receiving a complaint that a resident in Whistler's Kadenwood neighbourhood had been feeding bears.

Officers were forced to put down three bears that had been frequenting the area and had become so habituated to human food and presence that they showed no fear of people.

Conservation officer Sgt. Simon Gravel said once bears learn to link humans with food, they become a public safety risk.

"The primary concern of the COS is public safety. Illegally feeding or placing attractants to lure dangerous wildlife, such as bears, is an extremely dangerous activity," said Gravel.

The Conservation Officer Service say the majority of the fine has been ordered to go to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and that they hope the penalty will deter others from feeding wildlife.

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