Number of bear conflicts up in Cariboo region

Conservation officers urge residents to manage attractants

Conservation officers in the Cariboo region are reminding the public to be vigilant with garbage because the number of bear conflicts have been higher than normal.

“It’s a busy year,” said Jarod Connatty who has been with the Conservation Officer Service in Williams Lake the last four years.

“We are not even dealing with bears that are on the cusp. We are only dealing with bears that are deep into garbage, causing property damage and breaking into structures to access garbage. They are completely food conditioned and habituated — what we call a category one bear.”

Provincially the COS has provided direction this year and is encouraging conservation officers to deliver more enforcement action when it comes to attractants.

“The tolerance level for poor attractant management from the general public is low right now and if we come across individuals who are knowingly leaving their garbage out and it is being accessed by dangerous wildlife, we are issuing orders and/or violation tickets under the new wildlife act for just leaving out garbage.”

The onus has to go back onto the public a little bit because too many bears are being removed, he added.

A ‘number’ of bears have been put down, he confirmed, including a mature adult male on the weekend of Oct. 5 near Haddock Avenue that was closely related to a number of conflicts in that area of town.

“We are dealing with a number of mature bears this year, which is a little bit odd. They are large, large bears.”

Every year at the end of September and October, the number of bear conflict calls increase normally because bears are trying to put calories on for the winter, however, he said bear conflicts started in August and have not stopped since.

“I don’t have a good reason for why they started early or why the conflicts are so high right now, and why the bears have been so consistently active, but they have been.”

Williams Lake has been busier than normal, as well as Quesnel, 100 Mile House and Bella Coola, he added.

In the coming weeks the COS will be working with Amber Greg, local Wildsafe BC co-ordinator, and conducting bear attractant inspections in some neighbourhoods surrounding Williams Lake.

Read more: Wildsafe BC co-ordinator urges residents to manage attractants

If people are putting garbage out the night before pick up that is left on the road and strewn all over the because a bear got into it, the COS and Greg will be knocking on their doors, Connatty said.

“We will be asking you why that garbage is strewn about?”

For people that have sheds or structures with garbage securely locked up and are doing what they can to keep the bears out, they will work with them, he added.

“We are not here to work against the public, we a here to work with them. We have huge appreciation for people who are doing what they can. Some bears just learn that if they pull a hinge off a door they get a reward.”

Bear calls tend to ‘peter’ out in November as the bears are starting to den, but grizzlies stay out later, especially in Bella Coola, and it can be December before they den, he explained.

“I like to tell people to carry that practice on through the winter because even if bears are in hibernation it doesn’t mean now I can leave my garbage out. We do have some bears that just are so habituated and used to living in town that they do get up and roam around in the middle of winter.”

The local COS dealt with a handful of bears in January and February 2019, he said.

A cougar had been sighted in the Woodland Drive area earlier this fall, but was caught a week and a half ago.

Read more: Cougar sighted several times in Williams Lake Westridge, Woodland Drive area

Anyone with wildlife conflicts is encouraged to call the RRAP-line 1-877-952-7277.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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


Residents are being urged to manage attractants as the Conservation Officer Service in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Just Posted

Highway 97 near 108 Mile to go down to single-lane alternating after fatal collision

RCMP and Dawson Road Maintenance will assist during smudging ceremony

Cariboo Regional District proposes 4.5 per cent more taxes

Majority of the notable tax increases are for emergency services

‘Slow down’: Williams Lake RCMP caution motorists after overnight rain makes roads icy

Black ice being reported on Highway 20, Likely and Horsefly Roads

Hoyer: ‘Just cheer away … I can hear you here’

The three-time, back-to-back-to-back medalist, will be looking to climb back atop the mountain

Bantam T-wolves look to build on success at home tourney this weekend

Teams at the tournament will be Kamloops, Quesnel and Fort St. John

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Brownie, a St. Bernard mix, found suffering from gunshot wound in B.C. Peace region

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Was Bigfoot just spotted on a Washington State webcam?

Sherman Pass is rougly 70 kilometres south of Grand Forks, B.C.

B.C. employer health tax wins ‘paperweight award’ for red tape

Businesses forced to estimate payroll, pay new tax quarterly

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

New U.S. LNG terminal near northwestern B.C. town proposed

AlaskCAN International LNG wants terminal just over Canadian border, but using B.C gas

‘I would not go’ to China says B.C. traveller concerned about coronavirus

Alice Li said she goes to China every other year but would scrap any travel plans

Most Read