People have been spotted trying to feed a black bear like this one near Youbou. (Jill Hayward photo)

People have been spotted trying to feed a black bear like this one near Youbou. (Jill Hayward photo)

‘Don’t feed the bears’: repeated roadside incidents lead Vancouver Island warning

Conservation office makes statement after multiple reports near Youbou

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service is expressing concern over reports of people trying to feed a wild bear near Youbou.

The BCCOS tweeted about the reports on Monday, July 6.

“The #BCCOS has received reports of people attempting to feed a bear near #Youbou,” read the tweet from @_BCCOS. “CO’s are monitoring the situation. If you witness this, call the #RAPP line. It is an offence to feed dangerous wildlife — doing so creates a serious risk to public safety & the safety of the bear.”

According to conservation officer Scott Norris, a young bear has been hanging out west of Youbou in recent weeks, mostly feeding on grass close to the roadside, and some individuals have been spotted getting out of their cars and trying to give food to the bear, which can create problems for both the bear and the public.

“It puts people’s safety in danger and puts the bear’s life in danger,” Norris commented.

Some people have called the bear a cub, Norris said, but he thinks it is more likely a yearling, likely born last spring. No other bears have been seen with it.

Norris is aware of photos from the past, when it wasn’t unusual for tourists to feed bears, even in national parks, but ideas about how to interact with nature have changed.

“I don’t think it is as common nowadays, but it still happens,” he said.

People caught feeding bears can be fined $345, Norris noted. He advised the public to avoid feeding bears, and that if they do see it happening, to report it to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

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