Bear season heating up in the Cariboo

Bear calls are coming in daily by the dozen, the Conservation Officer Service in Williams Lake confirmed Friday.

Bear calls are coming in daily by the dozen, the Conservation Officer Service in Williams Lake confirmed Friday.

“They are coming in from all directions, and this week we already destroyed one bear that was accessing garbage out at the Chimney Valley area,” said conservation officer Justyn Bell.

The calls range from sightings, mostly due to the presence of fruits and berries on properties, to bears attempting to kill livestock or damage property, Bell said, noting the COS is attempting to trap some of those bears.

The public can expect “a lot” of bear activity in the coming weeks Bell warned as he urged people to remove attractants, such as picking fruits and berries, cleaning barbecues and locking up garbage.

“I had a gentlemen here from Alexis Creek this morning who has a bear accessing their fruit, etc.,” Bell said. “I provided him with a bunch of advice and hopefully we won’t have to deal with this bear.”

Cougar complaints are also coming in frequently, he said, noting last week officers destroyed a cougar in the Deep Creek area that had become a public safety concern.

When it comes to bears in B.C. the Ministry of Environment website reminds the public that under the Wildlife Management Act , it is an offence for people in B.C. to feed dangerous wildlife (bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves) or disobey orders to remove and clean up food, food waste or other substances that can attract dangerous wildlife to their premises.

Conservation Officers may issue a written dangerous wildlife protection order which requires “the removal or containment of compost, food, food waste or domestic garbage.” If people fail to comply with the order they could face a heavy penalty of up to $50,000 and/or six months in jail.