March 21, 2014 - 9:55 AM
KAMLOOPS — As bears wake-up hungry from their winter naps, people living near forested areas are being asked to take precautions to avoid conflicts with the bruins.
Frank Ritcey with Wildsafe B.C. says they've already had a bear sighting near the dikes in Kamloops.
Bear encounters in urban areas have actually been dramatically decreasing over the years Ritcey says, and wet springs may have something to do with this.
“A warm, wet spring means the grass grows quicker,” Ritcey says, giving the bears a food supply in the bush.
“The bears would rather be in the wild so there aren't as many problems.”
When there is a lack of food, the bears begin to look elsewhere and birdfeeders become an easy target.
“We get approximately 30 to 40 feeder related calls with bears each year,” Ritcey says.
Bird seed has more caloric benefits than a steak which is what makes it enticing.
Ritcey says people who had bird feeders out through the winter months should take them down now that spring is here.
DOGS AND BEARS
Those who plan to go hiking in the coming months are advised to ensure their dogs are leashed and they have bear spray readily available.
“Most human-bear encounters come from off-leash dogs,” Ritcey says. “Dogs start by chasing the bear, then the bear gets tired of being chased and begins to chase the dog. The dog then runs back to his owner, bringing the bear with him.”
Ritcey caught a dog-bear encounter on video last year in Kamloops. “It really demonstrates how fast things can change,” he says.
Most bears want to avoid people as much as they can but humans need to ensure they take preventative steps as well.
Ritchey says this will help keep people safe and B.C. Conservation won't have to put down as many bears each year.
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Credit: Wildsafe B.C.
This video taken last summer in Kamloops shows how dangerous it can be for dogs to run off-leash near wild animals, and just how fast things can change.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014