Predator warnings crop up

Trees bearing fruit lead to backyards hosting bears

Predator sightings in the South Cariboo are on the rise again with bears chowing down at apple-tree “buffets” and other residential attractants.

100 Mile House Conservation Officer Colin Kravontka says increased bear sightings are currently being reported at the 105 Mile, 108 Mile Ranch, 100 Mile House, Green Lake, Bridge Lake and various other outlying areas.

“There are lots of berries out there for them, but those are starting to dry up, so they are starting to wander through the urban areas.”

As long as residents control their attractants, such as picking and cleaning up ripe apples, locking garbage and pet foods up, taking down bird feeders and avoiding/dealing with smelly compost piles, the bears will move on, he notes.

“There have been a number of sightings, but for the most part they are still accessing their natural foods.

“There have been a few people startled by bears just because they haven’t been [expecting] them.”

Meanwhile, cougar sightings have been down over the past few months, but year-to-date, they are on par with normal levels, he adds.

“There have been lots of deer sighted this year and lots of fawns – there are a lot of the young deer running around.”

Plenty of rabbits and hares are also in the area right now, so that could be a reason why the conservation officers (Cos) are not getting any cougar complaints, he explains.

“Cougars are out there – they are always around and they have fairly big territories – but if they can access their natural foods, that is what they are going to do.

“Usually when we have problems is when they are sick or injured, or the food supply is low. Right now, it has been good.”

Even through inadvertent attractants, such as homeowners forgetting about their fallen tree fruit, a fed bear is a dead bear, he says, adding bear sows will pass on learned garbage-rummaging and yard-foraging behaviour to their cubs and then COs must destroy the whole family unit.

This is not an outcome anyone wants to see, so Kravontka stresses the onus is on the residents to manage their attractants.

Visit https://wildsafebc.com for more information on wildlife safety. More tips and recommendations are at the Bear Aware website at www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/info/bearaware.

To report poachers, polluters and problem wildlife, call the RAPP line toll-free at 1-877-952-7277.