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HomeNewsQuesnel has had a busy summer with bears

Quesnel has had a busy summer with bears

A lot more bears have been seen in the Quesnel area this year.

Chris Ford, a local Conservation Officer, says they get around 300 calls in a typical year, but he says they were a lot busier this year…

“Since the spring, Quesnel has received 465 human wildlife conflict calls, which include black bear sightings, bears accessing non-natural foods, as well as bears causing property damage.   The majority of the calls are in regards to bears accessing garbage being number one, bird feeders and of course fruit trees.”

Ford notes that there is “A Bear in Area” sign near Baker Creek in West Quesnel…

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“It is in regards to a family unit that has been cited in this area.   It is a sow with a couple of cubs.   There also was a lone bear, mature bear, hanging out in this area.   We typically see that around the creeks and river systems, they are migratory routes for bears.”

As for why there have been so many bears this year, Ford offers the following explanation…

“We had such a wet start to the summer that is caused for a pretty late berry crop, and unfortunately those bears that became food conditioned to non natural foods in the spring and did not retreat out of town to feed on natural foods, which is what we would typically see around mid to late June.   Instead we had a higher than normal amount of bears stay within town for that reason.”

Ford says bears are now getting ready for hibernation…

“Bears are entering a phase called hyperphagia.   It’s when all they want to do is gorge themselves in preparation for hibernation.   So this time of year it’s critical that we ensure that all attractants are properly secured so bears can’t get access to them.    Bears are intelligent so once they learn how to access an easy meal, it is almost impossible to break that learned behavior.”

Ford says it is important to pick the fruit from trees and get the fruit off the ground.

He says apples can be dropped off at United Concrete right now for them to be donated to the Crooked Lake Ranch Society, Second Chance Wildlife Rescue, and also Northern Lights Wildlife Society.

Ford says that’s where he sends orphaned or injured black bears, so it’s going to a good cause.

He reminds people that there are consequences to attracting bears to your property…

“Under the Wildlife Act it is an offence to have attractants which can draw wildlife to your property. Fines can range from 230 to 345 dollars.   Furthermore, under the Quesnel City Solid Waste and Disposal bylaw, it is now an offence to put your garbage out before 4 am for pickup.

Ford says all of this information and a lot more can be found on the WildSafe BC website.

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