Volunteers are planning to survey Smithers residents about bear safety in an effort to prevent dangerous encounters.

Bear safety survey aims to educate Smithers residents, prevent dangerous encounters

A group of volunteers will survey Smithers residents about bear safety in an effort to improve awareness and avoid encounters.

Smithers conservation officer Kevin Nixon once got a phone call about a bear sniffing at the back door of a Main Street restaurant.

It was the first report he received about the bear before it followed its nose to the food smells wafting from the local eatery.

Somehow, the wild animal had walked through the centre of town without anybody noticing it.

According to Nixon, cases like these highlight the fact that bears can be found anywhere in Smithers.

For this reason, the Ministry of Environment worker said residents of urban and rural areas alike need to take precautions to avoid attracting the bears to their homes.

A group of volunteers will this month hit the streets of Smithers to survey and educate residents about how to avoid attracting bears to their homes.

Nixon said the results of a similar survey in Telkwa last year exposed a “shocking” lack of awareness, highlighting a need for more education.

He said the main problems were people putting out their garbage the night before pick-up and leaving apple trees overflowing with fruit.

He said many people were unaware their activities could attract bears, particularly in urban parts of Smithers.

“We have these hidden green belts in town,” he said.

“There’s a small green belt right behind the hospital, believe it or not we have bears in there all the time.

“They will rummage around that neighbourhood and they will find garbage and they will bring it back to

the green belt.”

Six volunteers will conduct the upcoming survey in Smithers, which is part of the WildSafe BC program aimed at reducing human and wildlife conflict.

Nixon said there would always be bears in the community but educating the public about safety precautions would help prevent dangerous encounters.

“Once the bear is conditioned to human food it is very difficult for us to have to deal with,” he said.

“Nine times out of 10 we are going to have to destroy it because it gets to be more and more bold as they get more and more conditioned to human food, thus creating a very dangerous situation.”

He said bear activity in Smithers had been low in 2015 compared with last year, which Nixon said was one of the worst he had seen.

He attributed the change to bumper berry crops keeping the bears well-fed.

For more information about bear safety visit wildsafebc.com. Bear sightings can be reported to 1-877-952-7279.


Just Posted

Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The LNG pipeline company can start work Monday with enforcement approved by court.

Smithers Christmas Bird Count

Time to register for the annual bird count, an effort done across the hemisphere.

They’re engaged!

Birthday party turns into engagement party for Doug and Matilda

Hampers a chance to help in the Christmas spirit

SCSA sends around 350-400 hampers to the area from Witset to Telkwa.

Volunteers create Christmas magic at Santa’s Breakfast

PHOTOS: For the past 19 years, a local event helped remind us that Christmas is a time of giving.

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Most Read