Conservation officers warn public to be aware of bears

  • Sep. 6, 2006 12:00 p.m.

A fed bear is a dead bear.
That’s the main message conservation officers across the province have for the public at this time of year.
“Bears are shifting their diet from berries to focus on salmon,” says local conservation officer James Hilgemann.
But if humans allow bears access to non-natural foods like ripe fruit on trees and garbage, the animals could become “problem bears.”
He says he has received few calls this year, but has heard second-hand about bears in the towns on the islands.
Mr. Hilgemann encourages people to report sightings of bears who are prowling around neighbourhoods.
“If we don’t get the calls, we don’t know if problems exist,” he says.
The officers appreciate neighbours calling, so they can track the bear’s movements through the area.
He reminds people to put their garbage out on garbage day only and to pick their ripening fruit. He also noted that fish cleaning spots may attract bears.
With school starting up, he suggests children stick to the main roadways for a month and stay out of the trails.
Bears are often encountered on trails, especially those near the creeks, where the animals can feed and sleep for days during salmon season.
Bear sightings can be called in to the 24-hour line at 1-877-952-7277. The local number is 559-8431.
More information about being Bear Aware can be found at www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/info/bearaware/index.html.

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