Bears plaguing Alberta oil sands camps

Feb. 23, 2012 at 8:52 AM
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FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- At least 94 black bears rummaging through garbage in Northern Alberta's oil sands work camps were shot and killed last year, environmental officials said.

Another 51 bears who ventured into residential areas in the Fort McMurray area were also killed, provincial Minister of Sustainable Resource Development Frank Oberle told reporters.

Oberle said 2011 was "an unusually bad year" for bear shootings in the northeastern region, with more than 530 human-bear interactions reported, Fort McMurray Today reported.

The minister said it's likely bad weather that decimated the wild berry crop led more bears to scavenge at oil sands work camps' landfills and garbage dumps.

Oberle ordered a review of camp and refuse pit management that oil and gas companies would have to adhere to, the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, a resident of central Fort McMurray told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. some of her neighbors were making matters worse.

"People [were] throwing dog food out and feeding the bears, enticing them to come back," Hilda Ivanco told the CBC.

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