Bear sightings around B.C. are the highest in years, according to WildSafeBC.
Already this year, about 14,000 black bear sightings have been reported around the province. WildSafeBC says the Conservation Officer Service receives on average, about 14,000 to 25,000 calls in a year, and that this year is ramping up to be the highest for bear activity in six years.
Locally in the Elk Valley, bears are out and about. On Monday WildSafeBC reported that bears had been seen in West Fernie on Hand Avenue and Riverside Drive. Three grizzlies were also seen near the First Perk in Jaffray, as well, a bear with two cubs was spotted in lower Sparwood.
On Sunday, a bear and two cubs were also seen by the court house in Fernie, headed towards Dogwood park.
WildSafeBC community coordinator, Kathy Murray, says bears in B.C. are currently in a phase called hyperphagia, where they need to consume over 20,000 calories per day in preparation for winter.
She says the best way to avoid conflicts with bears is to secure all attractants, including garbage, fruit, compost, bird and pet food, barbecues, beehives and small livestock. She added that bears may be active up to 20 hours a day while they forage for food.
“It is up to all of us to work together to reduce conflicts with wildlife and keep our communities safe,” said Murray.
If bears are observed in urban areas or in conflict (aggressive or accessing unnatural foods), call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.