Conservation Officer Service reminds the public it’s time to be bear aware.
Justin Millett, Field Officer in the Cariboo Chilcotin Region, said bears are already starting to come out of their hibernation and went over the number of Human-Wildlife conflicts in Williams Lake, Quesnel, and Bella Coola.
“We had a total of 530 Wildlife conflict report calls that came in as opposed to 2021 when we had almost double that with 1,011 calls. Definitely a sizeable drop in conflict calls which is great.”
Millett attributes the decline to the outreach work of the Conservation Officer Service along with their partner Organization Wildlife BC.
“They had a Coordinator in the Cariboo Region last year who did fantastic work attending different events, doing door-knocks, and just talking to the public to let them know what they can do to help with the bear conflicts.”
To help reduce the numbers even further Millett said to visit the WildSafe BC website which has a pile of great resources to help people out and secure any attractants you may have on your property.
“Make sure garbage isn’t being placed outside of your residence until the day it’s being picked up for garbage. If you do need to place your garbage outside at least put a ratchet strap over the lid to help prevent a bear from getting into it. Make sure you clean the grill of your barbecue and take the grease trap inside with you and do not leave pet food outside.”
Millett added that Conservation Officer Service doesn’t enjoy euthanizing wildlife, however, it is a part of it on occasion.
“Last year in the Quesnel area we were lucky enough to only have to euthanize one bear within the town which was, once again, an extreme drop from the year prior which was really great to see. But once a bear, or any predator, has established an area where they know they can find food they’re going to keep returning back to that area. Unfortunately, rehabilitation centers can’t take bears that have accessed garbage, and if we were to re-locate them, to another area typically they’re going to find their way back to the town where they came from or into another one and create problems elsewhere, “ Millett noted.