Bear complaints nearly double across B.C.

Conservation service says they received nearly 9,000 calls about black bears between April and August.

Complaints about bears in communities throughout British Columbia have nearly doubled since last year, according to the provincial conservation service.

Officers received 8,900 calls about black bears between April 1 and Aug. 1 of this year, up from 4,900 such complaints during the same period in 2016, said Chris Doyle, deputy chief with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

RELATED: Bear conflicts on the rise in B.C.

Hundreds of calls have also been received about encounters with grizzly bears, Doyle said in an interview on Wednesday.

Most of the complaints are about bears getting into human “attractants,” like garbage or fruit trees in developed areas, Doyle said.

“We’ve got everything from complaints of a bear in a yard to a bear sighting, a bear getting into garbage, right to bears breaking into houses and a few calls about bears injuring people,” he said.

A number of factors could be contributing to the increase in human-bear conflicts, including an increased bear population and a wet, cold spring, Doyle added.

RELATED: Conservation expecting highest number of bears in recent years

“That delayed some of the natural food from ripening,” he said. “So that brought bears into conflict and some of them have stayed in conflict. And typically when a bear gets into conflict, the level of conflict will escalate.”

An officer’s response will depend on the behaviour of the bear, and Doyle said that may include relocating or destroying the animal.

He could not give figures for how many bears had been euthanized this year, but said when bear conflicts rise then the number of animals destroyed also goes up.

RELATED: Officers forced to kill four bears on Vancouver Island

The public can help cut back on human-bear conflicts, by securing garbage, removing fruit from trees and staying away from wildlife, Doyle said.

Anyone found feeding wild animals could be fined or charged, and many municipalities frequented by bears have bylaws around disposing of materials that could attract the animals.

“Ultimately, we know conflict will occur and a lot of it is preventable so we really hammer home the message about securing attractants around businesses and residences,” Doyle said.

Nature could also help decrease the numbers in the late summer and fall if berry crops and fish runs are good this year, he added.

Just Posted

City stamps rezoning approval for Merridale Cidery expansion in Victoria

Owner expects doors open by fall 2019 in Dockside Green neighbourhood

North Island Tour De Rock rider Benjamin Leah leads team to Port Hardy

“You don’t have issues and problems when you look at these kids and how much they’re going through.”

Two to hospital after University of Victoria sailing mishap

Wind gusts capsize boat of recreational club sailors

Victoria’s deaf community advocates for different sign languages to be recognized on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Transport Canada announces funds for pollutant clean up in Victoria Park, removal of abandoned boats

Contaminants at Laurel Point Park will be removed starting at the end of September

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Victoria resident barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Family, friends of B.C murder victim want killer sent back to max security facility

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

Most Read