A post on Conservation Officer Service Facebook page says April, May, and June, saw the highest number of black bear calls to the RAPP line in 10 plus years, nearly 10 thousand combined.
In the Cariboo from March 2021 to May 2022, there were 308 human-wildlife conflict reports in 100 Mile House, 423 in Quesnel, and 345 in Williams Lake.
Quesnel Conservation Officer Kyle Bueckert said calls to the RAPP line are for various reasons.
“Black bear sightings, to black bears getting into attractants all the way up to black bears causing property damage or even entering dwellings.”
Many factors come into play including black bear populations doing well and human encroachment/development interaction in interface areas
“What concerns the CO Service when in these interface areas, is when attractants like garbage, bird seed, barbecues, compost, whatever it may be, attract the bears to the area. They become habituated and food conditioned and once they become habituated and food conditioned they realize that there’s a high-calorie food source there that takes minimal effort to get so they hang around.” Bueckert said, “Once they start hanging around they become accustomed to people, and then they can get into trouble and the CO Service always takes public safety as number one so when bears start to become food conditioned and they’re hanging around causing issues, causing property damage or acting threatening or aggressive, we have to take action.”
Bueckert added it’s very frustrating because a lot of the time these conflicts could have been prevented with proper attractant management.
“The Conservation Officer Service sometimes has to euthanize bears that are becoming problems. I just want the public to know that it’s not something that the CO Service likes doing.” Bueckert said, “As a newer Conservation Officer it’s the toughest thing that a CO has to do, and if we can prevent that we will. So please properly secure attractants and manage properties properly so that we don’t have to get to that point with some of these conflict bears.”