A black bear rummages through someone’s trash searching for food.

A black bear rummages through someone’s trash searching for food.

Bears out of hibernation, in city

BC Conservation Officer Service warns residents to be bear aware.

Don’t make that visiting bear feel at home.

This message comes from the BC Conservation Officer Service.

Responding to word that black bears have been seen rambling around populated areas of Salmon Arm, conservation officer Tanner Beck out of the Vernon office provided suggestions.

The first, which many people have heard, is not to leave food outside. He notes the conservation office has recently received reports of bears in local areas where people had left garbage outside.

“Hopefully people realize the bears are up now and they can’t have anything food-related outside,” Beck says. “We don’t want to kill any bears, but we especially don’t want to kill any bears because of people’s mistakes.”

Beck said, with the warm weather, bears have woken up and are out and about.

Postings on the Internet of recent bear sitings around Salmon Arm have included the Village at 10th and 10th south of the Mall at Piccadilly, Foothill Road, and the west end of town as far out as Ben’s Towing.

Another important piece of information, he says, is not to make the bears feel at ease.

“Safely haze them with bear bangers or air horns or even yelling at them – it will stress them out. We don’t want them to be comfortable with us,” he says. “Most people think, I’ll be real quiet and get a nice video or picture. Bears learn from that. ‘My last experience with a human, it was quiet, it was calm.’”

But the biggest thing, he reiterates, is to lock up all food-related items.

“We say it multiple times every year but some people appear to not be listening to the message.”

Beck adds that under the Wildlife Act, people can be charged if they leave anything out that attracts dangerous wildlife to the neighbourhood.

Consequences can range from court-order penalties to violation tickets of $230.

If you are concerned about a bear, you may report it at 1-877-952-7277, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.