As bears rouse from hibernation BC Conservation is urging Northwest residents to be alert and minimize attractants that may have accumulated over the winter.
The call for diligence comes as reports to their 24-hour hotline, or R.A.P.P. Line, have begun to trickle in.
“We haven’t had any reports of rummaging, just sightings so far,” said CO Zane Testawich. “It’s time to remember to put our garbage in a secure location again, clean up the bird feeders—all that stuff we’re aware of but may need reminding of in the spring.”
Testawich said the bears will be in a lethargic state, sniffing out high-protein foods, especially skunk cabbage.
Prior to the snowfall, the region saw an unusually high amount of bear activity in populated areas last year due to less-than-prime salmon and wild fruit availability.
Bear populations were also at their highest number in years.
“Last year was an above average year for sure,” Testawich said. “It’s a healthy population. This spring, as the bears are waking up, my assumption is it’s going to be a busy bear season.
He added residents overall heeded calls last year to reduce attractants, and responded quickly to sightings by calling the R.A.P.P. Line.
“As the bears’ behaviour changed, the communities called us and we were able to track the bears,” he said. “We’re asking for the same this year.”
To report a bear sighting call the R.A.P.P. Line (Report All Poachers and Polluters) at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).
For comprehensive information on how to reduce bear attractants, and manage bear encounters and conflicts, visit the Ministry of Environment’s website.