Bear encounters are nothing new to B.C., but this one, in particular, has left a community reeling. According to Victoria News, five black bears were killed in Penticton earlier this week. This is the first time in a long time that this many bears have been killed at once. While the bears killed in Penticton was a tragic outcome of the situation, officials are saying that it had to be done. 

According to Victoria News, conservation officers were forced to kill all five bears after they were seen roaming around the neighbourhood very close to Wiltse Elementary School in Penticton, B.C.

On Thursday, October 24, five black bears were shot and killed by conservation officers using rifles. Zoe Kirk with Wildlife BC told Victoria News that at least one of those five bears charged at a teenager. 

Officials had no choice but to safely “destroy” all five of the black bears. According to Kirk, this is not common for the region. Officials could not remember taking such drastic measures during bear encounters in over 28 years. 

Before officials were called in relation to the sightings, the school was locked down to ensure everyone was safe. 

Sgt. James Zucchelli told Victoria News that the five bears were in the area for about 10 days and going door to door looking for food through garbages. In the last two days, the complaints got worse. 

Zucchelli stated that the three adult males and two adult females were killed as a reflection of the garbage in the city. 

“The entire situation came to a head Wednesday night when a young man was charged by a bear. We got a call from the school this morning and a photograph showing the five bears in green space within about 30 yards of the school grounds, they were all milling around while the kids were coming and going to school. So, out of concern for public safety, we had to euthanize them," Zucchelli said to Victoria News. 

Bears have been running amok all over Canada his year. Earlier this summer, a woman was forced to save her and her dog after a bear attack while hiking. The woman claims that the bear followed her and her dog for quite some time before charging at the two. 

After this, a trio of mountain bikers came across a bear that actively followed them through the trails in B.C. Alberta has also had some close calls with bears this year. In fact, Slave Lake in Alberta has the highest number of bear sightings with over 160 complaints this year. 

As for Penticton, Zucchelli says that safely euthanizing the bears was the only way to keep the community safe. "The service regrets what happened today, we feel for the community, we feel for the bears and we feel for the officers involved in these situations.”

There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.

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