A pair of Vancouver Island men who allegedly fed rice cakes to a black bear near Tofino this spring have been charged under the B.C. Wildlife Act.
They’re each facing a $345 fine, after a video of the incident went viral in May.
Deputy Chief Chris Doyle with the Conservation service says feeding the animals is strictly forbidden.
“We’re trying to discourage people from stopping, to attract bears on the roadside. And we also don’t want bears becoming habituated to people or being fed by people.”
WATCH: Men feed rice cakes to black bear along Highway 4
Doyle says giving the animals food can be extremely dangerous, and not just for humans.
“Once the bear is fed by a person it will have an association of people and food, so it can lead to further conflict. The unfortunate reality is that type of conflict puts the public at risk, but it also may put the bears at risk if they become dangerous, they may have to be destroyed.”
That exact concern was raised this week, after a pair of incidents involving bears.
In one case, another viral video depicted a camper having a bear encounter, after leaving smoothies in his tent.
In the other a bear in Garabaldi Park has become increasingly aggressive and faces possible destruction, allegedly because careless campers have not been storing food properly.