An orphaned bear cub that was put down near 100 Mile House Elementary in Oct. 2018. (File photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Statistics show a striking decrease in bear-related calls for 2019 in the 100 Mile area

‘I think the message is getting out there’

A decreasing trend in local conservation statistics is suggesting people are being more mindful of their garbage.

The number of black bear-related calls is significantly lower in the 100 Mile area in comparison to last year. A total of 91 calls were made so far this year.

Of those 91 calls, 43 were related to attractants like garbage.

A total of 381 calls were reported last year to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. That is 290 fewer calls this year.

“We had a lot of issues last year in 2018,” said Conservation Officer Joel Kline, resulting in eight bears being euthanatized.

According to Shelby Raymond, a local resident who administrates the Facebook group, Shelby’s Cariboo Critters, only three bears were euthanatized this year.

“If you consider the population of our area, we are doing really good this year, but there are a lot of factors to consider why the numbers were low,” said Raymond.

Raymond said many calls are often related to attractants commonly being garbage or residential fruit trees. She has been advocating ways to reduce the chances of conflicts with a bear.

“One thing people can do is avoid bird feeders,” said Raymond. “Garbage is a challenging one, but keeping the food out of the garbage until pick-up days will reduce the number of bears.”

Kline said one of the biggest things residents can do is to manage attractants.

“This could be why the numbers are down,” said Kline. “However, we live in an area where bear habitat is all around us, while the numbers are low, it’s still normal for us to take in a lot of calls.”

2019 Statistics: six black bear calls in 108 Mile, 54 black bear calls in 100 Mile and 31 black bear calls in other areas. The Conservation Officer Service received six calls in May, one in June, three in July, 25 in August, 10 in September and eight in October.

“I think the message is getting out there and people are paying attention. They care,” said Raymond. “I don’t want to see bears being put down because of human attractants.

Read more: B.C. tour company fined $35K for baiting bears with peanut butter, meatballs

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