Bears have been a frequent discussion in the 100 Mile House area this month, now that they have awoken from their long winter slumber. It has also caused a flurry of comments on social media about sightings, attractants and garbage.
According to conservation officer James Zucchelli, there have been 12 calls in the 100 Mile House area since April 1. Three of the calls came in early April and focused on Scott Road towards the trailer park.
“The sightings that have been out and around 100 Mile are out towards Forest Grove, Deka Lake and Watch Lake. They’ve been sightings and attractant concerns with bird feeds, BBQs and attractants,” he said.
Zucchelli has asked the public to report any sightings and conflicts between wildlife and humans to the Conservation Office Service (BCCOS) at 1-877-952-7277 and not Facebook.
Even though the BCCOS has a Facebook page, it is not monitored for wildlife conflict reports.
Zucchelli said it seems to be a regular trend to report conflicts on social media rather than actually reporting it to the outfit most equipped to deal with it.
Please spread the word in your community about securing garbage. Almost all of BC is #bear country and garbage is the leading cause of conflicts. Help us keep wildlife wild and communities safe. @_BCCOS
— WildSafeBC (@wildsafebc) May 7, 2019
“Please call and report to the 1-800 number,” he said. “That provides a database for the BCCOS, so we know what area has activity and when the behaviour of the bears may be escalating in a manner that requires us to respond. It allows us to gauge our response; if we could provide advice, if it means attendance and what the outcome of that situation could be. If we get a call that a bear has been in an area our accessing garbage for a considerable amount of time and it’s now moved into breaking into receptacles, carports and sheds – that creates a higher response for us.”
Unsecured garbage and attractants such as compost or fruit trees (in the fall) are major concerns for the BCCOS because if a bear finds this food source it will become conditioned to come back, creating a safety risk for property owners, neighbours and the community.
“The main message here is that garbage and unsecured attractants end up with bears having to be destroyed because it’s a learned behaviour. They become conditioned and they don’t go back to natural food sources,” said Zuchelli. “We want people to clean up their attractants and manage their attractants.”
He also noted that bear activity has been average, with no increase or decrease.