After her actions led to three black bears being euthanized, one woman is being used as a “precedent-setting” example courtesy of the massive $60,000 fine.
Outsiders know it, yet it can’t be said enough: Dont. Feed. The. Bears.
Zuzana Stevikova, resident of Whistler, British Columbia, would ignore all wildlife laws in order to deeply habituate three black bears to her feeding throughout the summer of 2018. Tragically, it is always the wildlife that pays the price for this sort of human behavior. Each black bear had to be euthanized as a result.
Now, however, the North Vancouver Provincial Court has imposed the highest fine under the Wildlife Act of British Columbia in history: $60,000. They do so to deter others from trying what Stevikova did. BC’s Conservation Officer Service has the full story.
“A Whistler resident, Zuzana Stevikova, has received a combined $60,000 penalty for feeding and attracting bears to her property in a precedent-setting case for the Conservation Officer Service as the highest overall penalty imposed under the Wildlife Act in B.C.,” COS posts to their official Facebook. The service includes photos of the beautiful black bears on Stevikova’s property:
As COS state, The majority of the penalty will go to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. This will ensure that Stevikova grievous crimes and the needless deaths of three black bears as a result will at least benefit further conservation efforts.
‘Extremely Dangerous Activity’: To Catch a Black Bear Killer
“The COS launched an investigation in July 2018, after receiving a RAPP line complaint,” the service continues. Apparently, a Kadenwood neighbourhood Good Samaritan would tip authorities that Stevikova had been “feeding black bears for some time.”
As a result, “The investigation found that Stevikova had been intentionally feeding black bears throughout the summer of 2018. Bulk produce – including up to 10 cases of apples, 50 pounds of carrots and up to 15 dozen eggs – was purchased on a weekly basis to feed the bears.”
Stevikova’s egregious activity helps put the landmark $60,000 fine into perspective. She was, in essence, running a full-service bear feeding station from her property. And as the COS states, this is incredibly dangerous for the public – and the black bears.
“The primary concern of the COS is public safety,” states COS Sgt. Simon Gravel. “Illegally feeding or placing attractants to lure dangerous wildlife, such as bears, is an extremely dangerous activity. Once bears learn to associate humans with food, it creates a public safety risk.”
Feeding = Habituation = Pubic Safety Risk = Euthanizing
Stevikova’s actions led to the direct habituation of at least three cinnamon-coat black bears, seen above. COS officers report the euthanizing of these bears came as a result of multiple factors. “Exhibiting highly habituated behavior showing no fear of people” is chief among them. The bears would also cause extensive property damage, as well.
In addition, the non-natural food conditioning of these bears would also sentence them to death. Their intense habituation left each wild bear ineligible for rehabilitation or relocation, COS cites.
No matter where a habituated bear ends up, they will pose a risk to human safety. The COS hopes this significant penalty will directly deter others from similar activity as a result.