A woman who thought she was being helpful by feeding three bears has faced unexpected consequences, including a hefty fine. Her actions also led to the death of the animals.
Between June and August of 2018, a Whistler, British Columbia woman, fed three bears human food, including apples, carrots, pears, and eggs. She thought she was being kindhearted and didn't realize her actions would have repercussions.
A court case was lodged against her, and in September this year, she pleaded guilty to two counts stipulated in the Wildlife Act. After she fed the two bear cubs and their mother, they had to be killed.
A young brown bear walking in its natural habitat | Photo: Shutterstock
DON'T FEED THE BEARS
Families who enjoy spending time in the wild are advised to educate themselves and their kids about the regulations. It is never a good idea to feed wildlife, and these rules are valid for Canada and many states.
The National Lakeshore Michigan explains the dangers of feeding bears. One taste of human food is all that it takes for them to become food-conditioned. Sadly, the animals are then no longer safe as their fear for humans disappears.
A mother bear walks through tall grass with her three cubs | Photo: Pexels/Kalen Kemp
THE ANIMALS BECAME FAMILIAR
The case with Zuzana Stevikova, the woman who fed the bears, is a prime example of why this must be avoided. The B.C. Conservation Officer Service had no other choice but to kill the animals because they became familiar with human food.
Stevikova must pay a fine of 60,000 Canadian Dollars (about 48,000 US Dollars). The woman who lives on a luxurious Kadenwood property was seen feeding multiple bears. A witness also said she called one of the bears "Lilly."
CULPABLE FOR HER ACTIONS
Stevikova told a witness that she fed the bears because she believed they looked underfed and wanted to help them. Despite being a vegan and having donated thousands of dollars to animal causes for years, she was found in the wrong.
B.C. Provincial Court judge Lyndsay Smith found that she was culpable for her actions and thus required her to face the consequences regardless of her "good intentions."
HARMFUL TO THE ENVIRONMENT
With her case, the judge hopes people will be alerted to the various wildlife regulations in their areas. The judge also called the woman's actions harmful to the environment.
She added: "if such a phrase can properly capture the death of a female adult bear and her two cubs." Judge Smith stated it was "common knowledge" that people should never leave food for wildlife.
JUSTICE FOR THE BEARS
As a result, the judge opted to hand Stevikova a hefty fine. Animal lawyer Rebeka Breder was impressed with the judge's ruling and how she sought justice for the bears.
Breder said it was fantastic "for the judge to find that the death of three animals was an aggravating factor." The majority of the funds received from the fine will go towards the Habitat Conservation Foundation.
THE ONLINE REACTION
The online community was outraged by the woman's actions. Many netizens felt she deserved a harsher sentence. One commenter wrote: "Hope this makes people think twice - feeding a bear is almost a certain death sentence for the poor bear."
Someone else labeled her actions "awful" and said it never bodes well for animals when they live near humans. People were saddened that the bears had to pay the price for the woman's actions, and many hoped others would learn from her story.
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