B.C. bear encounters soar with good weather, poor berries (with VIDEO)

Conservation officers contend with aggressive grizzly near Squamish, urge caution as wildlife conflicts surge

Grizzly bear near Squamish.



A surge in conflicts between people and bears since September has B.C. conservation officers urging more caution.

Nearly 2,500 human-wildlife conflicts were reported since Sept. 1, with high levels of bear encounters in the Kootenays, South Coast, Okanagan and Cariboo.

Part of it is the season as bears try to fatten up before winter, said Chris Doyle, deputy chief of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

“This time of year we can expect the bears to be trying to consume more calories before they go to den and we tend to expect higher levels of conflict in the fall,” he said.

Good September weather has meant lots of people enjoying the outdoors where they may run into bears, but Doyle said weather may have also hurt the food supply.

“Some areas are experiencing less than ideal berry crop conditions,” he said. “In the alpine it appears some of those berries didn’t develop due to conditions earlier.”

ATV riders near Squamish recently found their trail home blocked by an aggressive grizzly bear that wouldn’t let them pass. Conservation officers managed to scare the grizzly bear away. (See video above.)

“The grizzly bear had been feeding on a black bear so the grizzly bear was protecting its kill site from the ATV operators and that was the reason it was showing some level of aggression,” Doyle said.

Cranbrook conservation officers also captured a female grizzly bear that had been feeding near the east Kootenay community of Skookumchuck.

Officers are also watching out for two “island-hopping” grizzlies last spotted in the Pearse Islands off Telegraph Cove on northern Vancouver Island.

In Revelstoke, officers issued 16 dangerous wildlife protection orders to residents or businesses that had not taken enough care to avoid attracting bears.

Poaching bears for the illegal trade in their parts remains a concern.

Doyle said simultaneous arrests and raids were recently conducted in Surrey and Cache Creek targeted suspected bear parts traffickers. Charges have not yet been laid.

Doyle noted possession and trafficking of bear parts is illegal even if the bear was legally harvested.

He said charges may also result from an investigation into a bow hunter alleged to have killed a female grizzly bear outside Powell River, where it was feeding.

Wildlife rescue facilities have also had to take on more young bears.

Three bear cubs were recently rescued near New Denver after a sow was struck and killed by a vehicle, while another was rescued in Kitwanga after its mother was critically injured.

Just Posted

Trustee won’t delay Downtown Activity Centre sale

Salmon Arm city council had asked for an extension, bid process will run until July 6

Application proceeds for ALR exclusion

City council opted not to take the advice of its Agricultural Advisory… Continue reading

Interior Health launches water advisory map

Unique program to connect residents to drinking water advisories

Update: Stolen pickup truck still at large after evading police

RCMP are looking for a black late 1990s Ford 4x4 pickup with no licence plates

Okanagan Regional Library names new CEO

Don Nettleton, who has been with ORL for 24 years, takes over from Stephanie Hall

SilverStar reaches new heights with gondola

Vernon ski resort installing new feature, with opening date set for July 7

High water forces closure of a boat launch on Shuswap Lake

Boat launch on Eagle Bay Road shut down, two others in Sorrento remain open

Column: A tender portrait of school life

By Joanne Sargent, Observer contributor I would venture to say that most… Continue reading

Sorrento chiropractors support food bank

For the third year in a row, the Sorrento Chiropractic Wellness Centre… Continue reading

From the archives of the Observer

1908 A federal law forbidding the use of cigarettes by youths under… Continue reading

Business spotlight: Three medals awarded to Sunnybrae Vineyards and Winery

By Leah Blain, Observer contributor Three medals awarded to Sunnybrae Vineyards &… Continue reading

Salmon Arm soccer players take second in Arizona tournament

European Football School team nearly sweeps invitational competition

Media are not an arm of the police, Vice lawyer tells Supreme Court hearing

Ben Makuch challenges Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that he must give materials for stories to RCMP

Most Read