Accused Whistler bear feeders face up to $100K fine, 1 year in prison if convicted

Two seasonal residents of Whistler accused of feeding black bears in the resort community two years ago, are set to appear in North Vancouver Provincial Court next month.

Oliver Dugan, 55, and Zuzana Stevikova, 37, were charged in June and were scheduled to make a first court appearance on Nov. 18. Court records indicate the matter was struck from the list and put over to Dec. 16.

Read more:
West Vancouver man charged over bear-feeding caught on video

Dugan is accused of leaving matter to attract dangerous wildlife to a site on June 1, 2017, June 1, 2018 and Sept. 19, 2018.

Stevikova is charged with leaving matter to attract dangerous wildlife to a site and feeding or attempting to feed dangerous wildlife on June 1, 2018.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service launched an investigation in July 2018, after receiving an anonymous complaint that residents of Whistler’s Kadenwood neighbourhood were intentionally feeding bears.

Click to play video: Two face charges for hand feeding ‘Timbits’ to bears

The suspects, according to COS Sgt. Simon Gravel, allegedly purchased “large quantities of apples, carrots, pears, eggs and almonds to leave out for the animals.”

The COS confirms that a sow and two cubs suspected of being fed in the Kadenwood area had to be euthanized in Sept. 2018, after they began to exhibit habituated behaviour.

Read more:
B.C. black bear killed after residents admit they left food out so they could take videos

Warrants were issued for Dugan and Stevikova after charges were approved against them.

Upon her return to Canada on Aug. 16, Stevikova was detained by the Canada Border Services Agency at YVR.

In mid-September, the COS said the other warrant was still outstanding, and that individual was believed to be overseas. To date, it has not executed an arrest warrant for Dugan.

Court records indicate neither Dugan nor Stevikova is in custody in B.C. but the current whereabouts of the pair, who the BC Conservation Officer Service says is not originally from Canada, is unknown.

Property records show a Stefan Oliver Dugan is listed as the co-owner of a 6,900 square-foot home on Kadenwood Drive in Whistler, that was recently assessed at $9.8 million.

Under the B.C. Wildlife Act, anyone convicted of feeding bears faces an up to $100,000 fine or up to one year in prison, or both.

A subsequent conviction for the same offence could result in an up to $200,000 fine or up to two years in prison.

-With files from Mike MacDonald