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Bears in Likely a normal seasonal event for Cariboo community

Grizzly bears are fishing and feeding in Quesnel River as they prepare for hibernation
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Two grizzly bears walk across the front of a property on Cedar Creek Road in Likely Aug. 29. (Joy William photo)

Conservation officers are aware of bear activity “ramping up” in the Likely area, but see it as normal seasonal activity so far.

“This is not unexpected or exceptional” said Sgt. Jeff Tyre, of the B.C. Conservation Officer’s Service (COS), in an email.

Tyre noted one of the main reasons the bears come to Likely is to feed on the salmon runs returning each year to the Quesnel River.

While the COS has received a number of reports of bear activity in the area, they haven’t heard any reports of concerning behaviour at this point.

They have not yet had to put down any bears in Likely and are not planning to do more than monitor bear activity at this point.

In order to prevent humans coming into conflict with bears, the COS asks people to be aware of the presence of bears in the area throughout the fall and to eliminate attractants on their property.

Pet and livestock food, garbage, unprotected livestock, barbecues, birdfood and unpicked fruit can all lure bears to properties.

Another suggestion was to change their daily routines during these periods of high bear activity, including avoiding areas where bears are frequenting, especially to fish.

Tyre suggested the importance of changing their mindsets to live with and be tolerant of the bears.

This time of year, bears are entering “hyperphagia” which is a feeling of extreme hunger. This hunger and the need to eat in preparation for hibernation will become their entire focus.

A large number of calls with concerns about public safety and bears are coming in to the COS, and public safety is a valid concern. Tyre said it mostly comes down to managing attractants, educating ourselves with regards to bear behaviour, and being flexible to changing our routines and habits to avoid coming into conflict with bears.

Other suggestions to help prevent conflicts are:

  • Keeping dogs on a leach while walking them
  • Walking on paved road and well-travelled roads in residential areas instead of walking trails in forests
  • Avoiding trails that run along rivers and creeks where salmon spawn and bears commonly feed
  • Avoiding trails in undeveloped areas or green spaces in communities
  • Carrying bear spray and walking with a group if using trails or entering greenspaces
  • Bears are more active at dawn and dusk, so avoiding those times for outdoor activities
  • Supervise children
  • Secure any livestock, including birds

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Ruth Lloyd

About the Author: Ruth Lloyd

After moving back to Williams Lake, where I was born and graduated from school, I joined the amazing team at the Williams Lake Tribune in 2021.
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