Bears are coming out of hibernation and searching for food, said Clearwater conservation officer Kevin Van Damme.
“ If you spot a bear just be aware and take appropriate caution. Move slowly, and back out of the area,” he said.
Bears are lured into peoples’ backyards by: household garbage, pet and livestock food, bird feeders, food scraps and smells from uncleaned barbeques, compost bins, orchards, and garden produce. “Once a bear gets a taste of garbage it’ll be back, he said.
“There have been sightings close to town so be on the look out,” advises Van Damme. The local conservation officer wants the public to know that a grizzly bear sighting has been reported up around the Camp 2 area. “There are no elevated concerns,” he said. “ It’s just close to town.”
Grizzlies are not new to the area. They have been spotted on Raft, up in the TFL, and Clearwater River areas.
Bears come into regular contact with people in B.C., especially black bears because they are more adaptable to humans and human settlement than grizzlies. Black bears live throughout the forests of B.C. and often reside at the forest edge near towns or farms. These bears frequently wander into populated areas drawn by human food and/or garbage.
If people allow these visiting bears to access garbage and other non-natural food sources, they help to create “problem” bears. “Problem” bears are bears “that act on their learned behavior to such an extent that they produce a threat to human safety and property when seeking out human food and/or garbage”
A fed bear is a dead bear.
Most people are not aware of their role in the destruction of bears. If humans allow bears to access non-natural food sources such as garbage, they help to create “problem” bears. In most cases, “problem” bears must be destroyed because they damage property and are a potential threat to human safety.
Any conflicts or concerns should be directed to 1-877-952-RARR (7277)
From 2004 – 2009 Conservation Officers in British Columbia had to kill, on average, 538 black bears and 37 grizzlies each year because of real or perceived threats to human safety. Most of these bears come into conflict with people because they are allowed to access non-natural food sources.