A recently conducted bear attractant audit resulted in 146 inspections and 33 enforcement actions in the Thompson-Cariboo Region.
The audit part of a province-wide audit began this past summer and ramped up in September and October when bears forage for food to prepare for winter.
Inspector with the Conservation Officer Service (COS) in Williams Lake, Len Butler was not surprised by the numbers and says that the sheer number of complaints they receive which are all about attractants is not going down.
“I’ve been a conservation officer and a game warden for a long time and it has not changed in my entire career,” Butler says.
“Why I think whether this is the right thing to say or not, human nature we’re kind of lazy and if it’s easier to put garbage at the end of our driveway in a garbage can and not worry about it’s not our problem. It doesn’t seem to change.”
Butler adds while there are wildsafe programs in the Thompson-Cariboo, education is not doing enough.
“I wish it did because we don’t want to be running around being garbage police and that’s what it’s turning into,” Butler says.
“If we can’t take responsibility for our own attractants, our own garbage, our own fruit then who is going to do it? And then it comes down to that a lot of non-government agencies that criticize the COS they throw it back at us but we have no solutions, there seems to be no solutions out there. So if the public can try to keep their own backyard clean that’s a great start.”
Quesnel was one of the areas with the most number of bear complaints in the Thompson-Cariboo.
The audits resulted in 704 inspections throughout the province with 76 charges, 301 warnings and 355 dangerous wildlife protection orders which direct a property owner to remove an attractant or face a $575 fine.
The second phase of attractant audits will take place in the spring when bears wake up and search for food.