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Bears more habituated, more dangerous this year

Grizzly Bear
Image Credit: SOURCE/ Wikipedia
October 31, 2013 - 2:36 PM

KAMLOOPS – This year 14 bears have already been destroyed in Kamloops and Wildsafe B.C. Provincial Coordinator Frank Ritcey is disappointed that people still aren't getting the message this could be avoided with proper garbage management.

According to Ritcey, of the 14 bears destroyed this year one was due to a motor vehicle collision but the rest can primarily be attributed to the bears becoming habituated and food conditioned on garbage. Once a bear has had a meal like that it will usually come back looking for that easy meal again, and this can pose a huge risk to the public, which is why these bears have to be put down.

“Unfortunately there are some people that don't realize the connection between keeping their garbage inside and danger to the public,” Ritcey says. “You have to manage your garbage properly... it's safer for everyone, people and bears.”

The number of bears put down this year is up significantly over a typical year where only five or six are destroyed but this doesn't indicate a trend we need to be concerned about just yet, he says, it's just circumstances that come up once in awhile and need to be dealt with. He points to Williams Lake where only four bears have been destroyed this year, down from 17 the year before, as an example.

“Something happens. Bears have gotten to the point where they are a risk to public safety,” Ritcey says, noting Kamloops had a really good four or five years prior to this year.

He also says you don't always know when this will occur, the season started off with a lot lower number of sightings than usual but in the last month have picked up to the point where the numbers levelled off with the historical averages for sightings.

There has been a lot of talk about wolves lately and while the number of wolf encounters are up nearly 20 per cent Ritcey says wolf encounters make up a very small percentage of all calls and usually do not happen in urban areas where encounters tend to be higher profile.

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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