Bears popping up throughout the Nicola Valley
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District is reporting a high number of bear sightings throughout the region, as the predator rummages through garbage and other human byproducts.
Bears can be keen at seeking out unnatural food sources, and once they do, it can be difficult to keep them away from municipalities and campgrounds, the TNRD warned.
“There hasn’t really been a whole lot more bears reported than normal,” said Tristan Hopkins, TNRD Bear Aware community co-ordinator.
“But we have had quite a few reports about bears getting into garbage.”
Twenty-two bear sightings have been reported in Merritt from mid-April to June 23.
Some of the common high-calorie goodies bears seek out include garbage, fruit trees, pet food, bird feeders, unclean barbecues, livestock, feed and compost.
“People have been calling in about what to do when the bears have gotten into their garbage,” Hopkins said.
“I got one call from a neighbour because a bear got into that neighbour’s garbage and brought it into their yard and ripped it to shreds.”
A team from the TNRD is scheduled to visit Merritt in July to put awareness stickers on garbage bins that are left for pickup the night prior to garbage day.
These are major attractants for bears.
Conservation already put down one bear in the Bench neighbourhood of Merritt earlier this year.
“Properly managing possible bear attractants can help to make communities safer both for people and bears,” the TNRD stated in a release.
Bear sightings can be reported to the Conservation Officer Service’s RAPP hotline at 1-877-952-7277.
The Ministry of Environment and the TNRD sponsor the Bear Aware program.
For more information, visit www.bearaware.bc.ca.