Black bears, such as this one hanging out in a tree near Old Babine Lake Road, are being spotted in Telkwa in higher numbers than usual. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Bears causing an uproar in Telkwa

Higher than usual number of bear sightings in Telkwa neighbourhoods has residents on edge

Bears are wandering through Telkwa and causing some residents to be concerned for their safety.

“At present, I feel like I live in a war zone,” said Telkwa resident Patou Lehoux in an email addressed to village council.

“In the Cottonwood neighbourhood, we have at the very least two sows with two sets of cubs, one yearling and likely a big black boar that travels from the river up to the Woodlands neighbourhood.”

She added that many children live in her neck of the woods and it is a growing safety concern.

Mayor Brad Layton said there isn’t much they can do other than give out public information on the issue. But he admits there seems to be more bears around than usual.

“We have unprecedented number of close calls with bears in our work crew. In 33 years, I have never seen this many close encounters in the bush. I think we’ve had a boom in the population. We track all close in my workplace and there’s definately a lot more than I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Seasonal Conservation officer Karlee Hall said there have been a couple of traps set up and a few bears have been destroyed.

“Unfortunately a food conditioned and habituated bear is not a candidate for relocation, which is why and we can’t stress this enough we need to ensure that any attractant is not available to bears. We want to try to avoid that situation , it is not our motive to remove bears that way,” she said.

Each added that each situation was human caused and preventable.

The conservation office said that as bears prepare themselves for hibernation, they seek any possible food source to build fat reserves for the upcoming winter and are asking residents to ensure bird feeders are put away, household garbage is securely stored in a location that is inaccessible to dangerous wildlife. Fruit trees are also a major attractant for dangerous wildlife and fruit must be picked and removed.

Coun. Leroy Dekens suggested putting up bear safety tips on the village’s website and in the newsletter.

Layton also threw out the idea of putting on a town hall style meeting to make residents aware of the bear problem if it gets any worse.

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