This black bear wreaked some havoc on Fawn Rd. on Sept. 12. It damaged a plum tree and ate all of its fruit. (Submitted photo)

This black bear wreaked some havoc on Fawn Rd. on Sept. 12. It damaged a plum tree and ate all of its fruit. (Submitted photo)

Bears take the brunt of negative human behaviour in B.C.

Common attractants are garbage, compost piles, birdseed, pet food, berry bushes and fruit trees

By Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald

WildSafeBC has recently released data collected over a five-year period regarding human-bear interactions.

WildSafeBC grew out of the Bear Aware program and focuses on preventing conflict with wildlife through education, collaboration and community-based solutions, such as the Bear Smart Community Program.

According to the data, from 2015 to 2019 there were more than 82,000 calls to the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service (COS) regarding bears, the majority of which were black bears as they are the most commonly sighted bears in B.C. and are frequently found in residential neighbourhoods.

At 48% of those calls, an attractant was noted.

An attractant is something that draws a bear into a residential area where it has a higher chance of being involved in a human-wildlife conflict. Common attractants are garbage, compost piles, birdseed, pet food, berry bushes and fruit trees.

Black bears have unfortunately born the brunt of negative human interaction, irresponsibility and the failure to secure attractants.

From 2015 to 2019 44 black bears were translocated, which means they were moved from an area where they had become involved in human-wildlife conflict to a new location elsewhere in the province. During the same time frame of 2015 to 2019, 2,490 black bears were destroyed by COS. This number does not take into account bears that were destroyed by others in wildlife-human conflicts.

“You can help increase the safety in your community and avoid conflicts with bears by securing your attractants,” reads a statement by WildSafeBC.

“That means ensuring bears cannot access garbage, fruit, bird seed, barbeque grease, compost and anything else that can provide a food reward to a bear. If there is nothing there for a bear to eat, it will keep passing through the community to seek out natural foods elsewhere. If you are in a community with abundant natural foods, be aware of these locations and use caution or avoid them when bears are most active. Be aware, carry bear spray and keep pets under control. B.C. is wildlife country and living with bears requires all of us to live, work, play and grow in a WildSafe manner.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vandals burned a hole in the platform at the top of the Somenos Marsh Open Air Classroom early on the morning of Thursday, April 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson closes Somenos Marsh viewing platform

Fletcher estimates the damage at more than $5,000.

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map shows new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 11-17. (BCCDC image)
BCCDC says fresh COVID-19 cases down in most Island Health areas

Nanaimo sees its fewest new COVID-19 cases since mid January

More sleeping cabins for the homeless in the Cowichan Valley could soon be put in place if a $2.5-million grant application to the UBCM Strengthening Communities’ Services funding program is successful. (File photo)
Funding sought to expand homeless initiatives in Cowichan Valley

$2.5-million grant would see more sleeping cabins and outreach projects

The old Stanley Gordon school in Lake Cowichan. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette file)
Editorial: Old school properties represent potential for our areas

There are opportunities, often sitting right in the middle of our small communities.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial: Victim left to conclude out-of-court settlement on the day he disappeared

Trial of Richard Alexander in death of John Dillon Brown continues in B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria

Most Read