Bear sightings spike in the mid-Island

Fruit trees number one food attractant, as bruin reports double

There have been more bear sightings reported in Parksville Qualicum Beach this year, nearly double the number recorded in 2018.

From April 1 to Oct. 17 this year, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service had received 233 calls of bear sightings, 114 more than last year’s figures at the same time. Conservation officers attended 32 incidents this year compared to 15 in 2018. Public affairs officer Pamela Roth said it’s difficult to identify why levels fluctuate from year to year.

“We believe they are mainly driven by natural food availability but could also be affected by bear numbers, demographics, and changing human development and use,” said Roth. “The availability of attractants also plays a role of course.”

RELATED: No more warnings for Vancouver Islanders who leave out bear attractants

Conservation officer Andrew Riddell said there’s always going to be bears in the region as it has a lot of rural areas, plenty of rivers and wooded forests areas.

“The bears from what we’ve been having mostly are poking into people’s yards and a couple of neighbourhoods that are coming off those rivers and natural wildlife corridors,” said Riddell.

“We did have one bear that has been straying far into Qualicum Beach and a couple of reports of it coming around people’s back doors.”

Conservation officers had to destroy four bears in 2018 but so far in 2019, only one has been put down and one has been relocated.

Riddell said residents in the Parksville Qualicum Beach regions needs to do their part to discourage bears from frequenting the neighbourhood.

“We need to keep the bears wild and make sure that all our garbage and compost are secured,” said Riddell. “As well, they have to make sure they aren’t being put out until the day of pick up.”

In order to reduce wildlife conflicts, the BC Conservation Officer Service have been conducting random inspections. Riddell said the leading bear attractant has been unharvested fruit trees.

“A lot of the bears have been coming into residents’ yards for the fruits,” said Riddell. “I haven’t had many reports of bears getting into garbages or being aggressive. It’s just a report of a bear shaking someone’s trees or taking nap after hitting a bunch of the pears or the apples.”

Riddell said although the fruits on the trees are virtually gone now, he hopes next year residents would be mindful by picking the fruits and not allow them to accumulate on the ground.

“This will help mitigate any sort of interaction between humans and the bears coming in looking for food,” said Riddell.

RELATED: B.C. man’s yard comes alive with grizzlies at night

Riddell noted that incidents involving bear foraging into garbage have been down, which he says is positive.

“We do get concern when the bears start to go after our food waste,” said Riddell.

“That’s when they start walking down our roads, coming around our driveways, into our vehicles. It’s a much higher negative interaction between humans and wildlife when they get conditioned to our waste.”

To find out more on how to reduce conflict with bears, go online at WildSafeBC.com

To report a bear sighting or one that poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety, call, 1-877 952-7277 (RAPP).

Just Posted

Vancouver Island remembers

Remembrance Day images from around the Island

Victoria book store still collecting books from public as it aims for world record

Russell Books will attempt to build the tallest stack of Guinness World Record books on Thursday

North Island Rising: Wexit is nothing more than an ill-considered fairy tale

False promise of a prairie republic fails to withstand close inspection

Canada became home not only to war brides, but also to war grooms

Soldiers from other countries trained in Canada, fell for Canadian women and settled down post-war

Vancouver Island man helps reunite Parksville family with a piece of history

Silver Cross medal to be returned to family members on Remembrance Day

VIDEO: Pups in the pool: West Shore rec centre’s Dog Swim a success

West Shore Parks and Recreation goes to the dogs Sunday night

Man stabbed in Port Alberni park

RCMP dog team called out to search for attacker

Advocates push for high-speed rail connecting Vancouver to Seattle, Portland

Bullet train idea rubbed against an anti-tax message from the passage of Washington Initiative 976 at summit

Brian Burke considered favourite to replace Don Cherry

Brian Burke is the 5-4 pick to be the full-time replacement next season

Major donor Peter Allard takes UBC to court to get his name on all law degrees

Philanthropist claims school not adhering to 2014 agreement for his $30-million donation

Report predicts drug resistance likely to kill 400,000 Canadians by 2050

This increase is expected to cost Canada 396,000 lives, $120 billion in hospital expenses

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Early morning house fire north of Courtenay Sunday

Courtenay Fire Department attended the home around 5:30 a.m.

VIU Mariners soccer teams both earn silver medals at nationals

Vancouver Island University’s soccer sides stretch their seasons all the way to championship finals

Most Read