A bear (not the one pictured above) has been killing livestock in the Hilliers area in the past week. — News Bulletin file photo

Bear kills lambs in Hilliers

Attacks on livestock within past week

Residents in the Hilliers area should be vigilant of a bear killing local livestock, a local rancher warned this week.

Scotty Taylor said the rogue bear killed two of his lambs and injured a 300-plus pound ram Monday evening, May 15.

“It (the bear) took two lambs out of the pasture right behind the house, lifted them over a four- to five-foot high fence and took them about 30 feet into the bush and ate parts of them,” said Taylor. He added that the bear didn’t quite kill the ram, but the ram had to be put down later.

Taylor said he and his wife, along with his two dogs, didn’t hear a thing that night.

Taylor said the sheep were more like pets.

“This is the last; no more sheep for me. It’s too stressful,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he called a conservation officer, who told Taylor this was the third incident in the area.

Steve Ackles, conservation officer and acting sergeant for the central Island zone, said they do have traps set for the offending bear, but he also said this attack isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Ackles said every year there is livestock taken by bears and cougars, but it’s nothing to be “super alarmed about.”

Ackles said there have been three properties in the area affected by the bear, but he couldn’t comment on numbers of livestock killed.

Two nights before the incident at Taylor’s, Hilliers resident Gerard Janssen said a bear also attacked sheep at another residence near Pratt Road and the Alberni Highway.

Janssen said area residents have seen bears continually and they’re a normal sight living in the countryside, but he said it’s unusual for a bear to be killing livestock.

Ackles said people who have a hobby farm or are raising animals need to do their part and practice appropriate protection such as electric fencing or dogs intended to protect livestock.

Ackles said one residence that was affected by the bear was doing a great job protecting the livestock, but other residences weren’t doing a great job.

“Once a bear gets conditioned and habituated to different things and learns behaviour on how to defeat things… then that’s a problem,” Ackles said.

Ackles said people need to be smart and step up and start managing their garbage, livestock and fruit trees properly.

“We like to save the bear before there’s consequences,” he said.

If anyone sees a bear, people are asked to call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

On Wednesday (May 17), the Nanaimo News Bulletin reported last weekend a bear was destroyed for eating chickens on a farm near Bowser. Ackles said the bear killed near Bowser because it broke into chicken coops was not the farm owner’s fault. The bear’s behaviour escalated after it found easy meals on other properties.

On May 11, the Town of Qualicum Beach posted on its Facebook page that a bear had been spotted around Arbutus Street, Mill Road and Moresby Avenue.

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