It’s spring, which means bears are on the move in the West Shore. Residents in areas with bear activity must lock up their curbside garbage bins or face a $230 fine.
Greater Victoria sees “lots” of bear activity when it’s feeding time, even in a place thought to be more urban such as Langford, said Scott Norris, a conservation officer for the region. “In the last year in the Triangle Mountain area we had lots of bear activity though the fall and in December.”
People should always be locking up their attractants this time of year as hungry bears start to leave their dens, Norris advised. He’s seen up to “five to 10 bear calls a day” in the southern part of the Island, he said
Residents can view reported bear sightings in their area at https://warp.wildsafebc.com/warp/.
“The last thing we want is for them to find garbage as their first key source of food,” Norris said. Bears “quite quickly” get habituated to neighbourhoods and human food sources, he noted. This leads to the unfortunate consequence of them getting euthanized, he added.
About 600 bears in B.C. were euthanized after an encounter with humans in 2017, according to the province.
Brittany Dorland said she noticed that bins that seem bear-proof aren’t always protective enough while cataloguing bear attractants in Metchosin for a class project in a social sciences course at the University of Victoria. If it’s a plastic bin, “bears can get on top, and jump on top, and break into it,” she learned.
The project catalogues 20 examples of potential attractants including bee hives, chicken coops and garbage cans, for bears, cougars and wolves. The project aims to log all the identified attractants in Metchosin, she said.
While she isn’t from the community and doesn’t know what it’s like, Dorland said there’s room for improvement from what she’s seen. “They definitely don’t have a bunch of open garbage that’s not covered, it just perhaps may not be as bear proof as they think it might be.”