Interior News Editorial

Interior News Editorial

Clean up, save a bear

Grizzly sightings are way up around Kitimat this year, attractants do not help

Providing it is from a safe distance, everyone loves a bear sighting.

According to the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS), it has been a successful berry and fish season leading to more bear activity this fall.

For example, in the Kitimat area, there has been a huge uptick in grizzly sightings this year.

The downside, of course, is that it could lead to more bear-human interactions and the inherent risk therein. Just two weeks ago, a large black bear boar seriously injured three people in northeast B.C.

Consequently, conservation officers are asking northern residents to exercise extreme caution. Tips on how to avoid a bear attack are available on the B.C. government website.

Also extremely important at this time of year, however, is keeping attractants away from them. Bears are in hyperphagia right now, meaning they’re trying to eat as much as possible before they go into hibernation.

Gardens, fruit trees, uncleaned barbecues, beehives, berry patches, bird feeders, compost, garbage and garbage cans, and pet food are all extremely attractive to bears and represent an easy feed.

“Anything high calorie for them like garbage, birdfeeders or tree fruit. If they can smell it, they’re coming to eat it,” said Zane Testawich, the acting sergeant in the Terrace COS office.

It is time to make sure all of those things that could attract bears are either cleaned up or secured.

Aside from the safety of human beings, it is also extremely important for the protection of bears.

Bears, of course, are an important component of the great northwest ecosystem we are so lucky to enjoy here. But bears that become habituated to non-natural food rewards in urban areas will ultimately have to be destroyed by the conservation service, something officers do not want to have to do.

It is everybody’s responsibility to make B.C.’s great Northwest a safe place for humans and bears alike.

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