A West Kelowna woman has started a petition she hopes will save bears lives in the future.
Dawn Urban is calling on West Kelowna residents to do a better job of securing their garbage after a bear family in the Shannon Lake neighbourhood was euthanized by the BC Conservation Officer Service this week.
"Save Our Bears! Demand City of West Kelowna enacts bylaw to fine for wildlife attractants," says the petition started on Wednesday.
The bear family, a mother and two cubs, had been spotted in the Tallus Ridge development this spring. Conservation officers were called on June 11 and they were forced to put down a black bear sow and her cub, "due to repeated and preventable food-conditioned behaviour that created a minimal fear of people,"said an email from BCCOS.
The other cub, also believed to be food-conditioned, remains in the area.
A group of concerned citizens attempted to arrange a rescue for the cub, but Urban says that is no longer an option.
"Although this is not the outcome we were hoping for, the most humane thing now is to find the cub so it doesn't succumb to a horrible death on its own as it is far too young," she said.
"I've been advised rescue is now not an option. I wish this weren't the case. This outcome will keep happening if our community does not do better and if we do not start standing up to make changes and prove to conservation that our neighbourhood wants change."
The petition was started on Wednesday and has 219 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.
"The sad reality is that when people do not take precautions to properly secure attractants, it often leads to bears being put down in order to keep people and animals safe," said BCCOS in a statement.
Conservation officers received multiple reports over the past few weeks about the black bear family accessing unsecured attractants such as garbage in West Kelowna.
"Once a bear is conditioned to non-natural food sources - such as the repeated and preventable behaviour of accessing garbage - and when a bear shows a minimal fear of people, they become a risk to public safety and are no longer candidates for rehabilitation or relocation," said BCCOS.
Conservation officers have been working with West Kelowna residents to reinforce the importance of attractant management and they will "take enforcement action as warranted."