British Columbia’s Conservation Officer Service is investigating allegations a Vancouver-area family fed a mother black bear and her cub.
Conservation Officer Lonnie Schoenthal says a complaint was received on the government-run tip line that permits anonymous reporting of wildlife, fisheries or environmental infractions.
Videos posted to social media, but since removed, showed adults and children handing out food, including an entire roll of crackers, to the sow and cub through an open window of a home.
The videos, which have been circulating on several media outlets, show two girls hand-feeding a cub from a patio and an adult cracking open a sliding glass door to slip a roll of crackers to the mother bear, who snatches the food and walks away.
Mr. Schoenthal says in a release that feeding wildlife puts both humans and animals at risk and is an offence under the Wildlife Act, carrying a $345 fine.
He says the bears may have to be destroyed if they become a public nuisance.
“When you food condition an animal it begins to no longer eat its natural food sources and it believes it can approach people and receive a food reward,” Mr. Schoenthal said in a release.
“However, in doing that you are putting the bear and the public at risk.”