Creating bylaws around attractant management is the only way to significantly reduce human-bear conflict in and around cities, said Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Officer Service Sgt. Jeff Tyre.
“If we want to get to a state where we are not destroying any bears, we are going to have to see bylaws in place to manage our attractants,” Tyre said in an interview with the Tribune.
“Those crab apple trees (around the city) are beautiful, but it’s probably the worst thing we could have done in our community for attractant management.”
So far in the Williams Lake area, only one black bear was killed at Chimney Lake last week, however, there are many other problem bears the COS are currently dealing with, Tyre said.
“Officers are doing a verification on a bear killing a calf out west, we have had numerous calls the past couple days of bears in garbage in Williams Lake and someone is leaving bags of fish parts in pullouts and on the ends of roads in Williams Lake attracting bears,” Tyre said, noting there are also active bears near Chimney Lake, Esler subdivision, Dog Creek Road, between Hodgson Road and Highway 20 and a sow with four cubs at 150 Mile House.
“When it comes down to it, if we could manage our attractants and take responsibility for our fruit and garbage we would have to put down very few bears. Probably an 85 per cent reduction.”
Tyre noted more problem black bears have been killed in Quesnel this fall.
“Quesnel is having a big bear problem this year — lots of nuisance bears,” he said. “Unfortunately that number is going to continue until people deal with their attractants.”
In Bella Coola, one problem black bear has been killed as well as two grizzlies which were either injured or very old and suffering.
Tyre said strong salmon runs and wildberry crops are keeping bears well fed this season.