Bear Complaints Rising in Northwest, Prompting Warnings from Conservation Officers

John Crawford
06/14/2019

Be careful with bear attractants!

That's the warning from the BC Conservation Officer Service, as the number of bear complaints continues to grow in the Kitimat, Terrace and Prince Rupert areas this spring.

Officer Zane Testawich says it's been especially busy around Kitimat -- and people need to do a better job of removing items from their property that will attract bears.

"That includes all garbage refuse, which needs to be in a secure location -- have the garbage cans put away -- any recycling needs to be secure -- clean out your barbecues --  we do not need to feed the birds or the squirrels at this time, so please clean out your bird feeders," he said.

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Testawich also urges anyone going out for walks on local trails to be "Bear Aware" at all times.

That means keeping your eyes up, rather than looking down at your phone --- and you should try to make some noise so that you don't startle a bear. 

And if you do see a bear, call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277. 

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The northwest isn't the only part of BC seeing a spike in bear-human conflicts.
    
Numbers are up all across the province -- and Conservation Officers are currently investigating two separate cases on the Sunshine Coast where residents are suspected of feeding bears.
    
Deputy chief Chris Doyle says that even if a bear looks unhealthy, you're putting not only yourself at risk, but also your neighbours and the bear itself by feeding it.
    
He says the service has received 60 per cent more calls about black bears and grizzlies in April and May across the province, compared with the average for the same period over the past eight years.
    
It's unclear why, but Doyle says the cool and dry spring may have meant less new growth for the bears to eat when they emerged from hibernation.
 

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