Bear Aware: Habituated bears

It has been a very busy September with a high number of bear sightings and many bear related incidences.

Locations of several bear sightings last week: a lone bear was found consuming garbage on Radium Valley Road; a lone bear was seen roaming around and eating apples on Kirk Street in Radium; a lone bear was reported in multiple times consuming garbage from local businesses on Highway 93 in Radium; a lone bear was scene roaming around Forester’s Landing in Radium; a sow and three cubs have been seen in Invermere around 13th Avenue and 4th Street; signs of a bear and garbage scattered around on 13th Street and 7th Avenue.

Please report all bear sightings and/or property damage caused by a bear to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

It has been a very busy September with a high number of bear sightings and many bear related incidences. About two weeks ago, a 200 to 300 pound black bear was destroyed on 13th Avenue in Invermere due to becoming human-food conditioned and human-habituated.

When RCMP found the bear, it was eating garbage on residential property. Residents mentioned the bear got garbage out of the back of their pickup truck and took it to a nearby bush to consume. When RCMP approached the bear, the bear didn’t scare off and for public safety the bear was destroyed. I want to make clear this is neither the RCMP’s nor the Conservation Officers’ fault; it is the fault of residents welcoming a bear into the community by letting it eat our garbage, fruit trees, birdfeed, etc. When a bear comes into town during the day and is not scaring off easily, it is obviously very used to being around people and getting food from us.

When a bear passes through a community and finds garbage or other easy food sources and doesn’t feel threatened, they are bound to stay and get comfortable. They become accustomed to being around us, associating us with food. Relocation would not work in this situation; bears travel far distances and will end up coming back to the same community or find another community in which to access food.

Over 500 bears are destroyed a year in B.C. due to human-bear conflicts.  The solution is an easy one — manage bear attractants (garbage, fruit trees, bird feeders, and pet food) so that bears can’t access them; then they will have no reason to remain in town and will avoid coming into conflict with us.

Bear Aware is currently looking for volunteers, please call the Bear Aware Community Co-ordinator at 250-688-0561.

BCCF’s Bear Aware gratefully acknowledges funding by Columbia Basin Trust, the Ministry of Environment and the communities of Invermere and Radium.

To report a bear sighting or incident call the RAPP line at: 1-877-952-7277

For more information on Bear Aware contact Leonard, Bear Aware Community Co-ordinator at 250-688-0561, invermere@bearaware.bc.ca or radium@bearaware.bc.ca.