Sicamous residents cautioned to be bear smart

Police urge residents to keep their distance from bear sighted frequently in area of Spruce Street.

Bird feeders are among the variety of attractants that will bring bears into residential neighbourhoods.

A black bear frequenting a Sicamous neighbourhood has local police encouraging residents to be bear smart.

RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil said the detachment has received about a call a day as of late regarding bear sightings on and around Spruce Street. McNeil said it’s likely the same bear, a black bear around two years old, that has been minding its own business, foraging for the coming winter season.

“I’ve talked to the BC Conservation service about it and they aren’t coming out to attend because it’s not showing any signs of aggression,” said McNeil.

The sergeant said he has spoken with residents in the area. He’s also seen the animal, and confirmed it doesn’t appear to be interested in people. But that doesn’t allay McNeil’s concern for public safety.

“It makes us uncomfortable when you see all the people gathering and and encroaching on the bear,” said McNeil. “I had to tell a couple of people it’s a wild animal, you can’t get close to it. We don’t want to be in a situation where we have to destroy the animal. As I say, it’s not behaving aggressively towards anyone. Obviously, it’s doing what bears do, it’s foraging before it goes into hibernation.”

McNeil said the bear is likely seeking out garbage and other attractants. These can include everything from fruit trees to barbecues, berry patches, pet food and bird feeders.