77 bear sightings reported across Kamloops, Okanagan this month | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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77 bear sightings reported across Kamloops, Okanagan this month

The Central Okanagan has seen a surge in bear conflict reports this season.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
September 12, 2021 - 1:03 PM

In the cities of Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton, WildsafeB.C.’s reporting program has logged 77 sightings of black bears this month.

Compared to the same period in 2020 between Sept. 2 and 11, there were only 13 sightings among the four cities. In 2019 there were 31 during the same week of the year, and in 2018 there were 13, according to WildSafeB.C.

Kelowna Conservation Officer Ken Owens said in a press release with recent wildfires in the region, bears have been displaced meaning more might be seen in Central Okanagan communities. The bears are in search of food sources, he said.

Last week on Sept 4. a grizzly bear was also reported in Vernon. Grizzly sightings are far less common than black bears in the Okanagan, but across the four cities, there have been 35 reports in the past three years.

The Okanagan Nation Alliance has been conducting a number of projects on grizzly bears since they were listed as threatened and protected in 2014.

The ongoing Okanagan Highlands Project aims to find out how many grizzly bears there are near Big White, Little White and east of Naramata.

READ MORE: How Kelowna got its name from 'grizzly bear', despite a distinct lack of grizzlies around

WildsafeB.C. is reminding the public to prevent bear encounters by keeping them from snacking on attractants like garbage, fruit trees and bird feeders.

Also in the past week, four cougars were reported in Kelowna and two in Vernon. In Salmon Arm, somebody reported a dead moose.

READ MORE: iN VIDEO: B.C. Wildlife Park warns residents of waking bears

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