iN VIDEO: Big brown bear spotted in Vernon backyard - InfoNews

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iN VIDEO: Big brown bear spotted in Vernon backyard

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Sheri Okrainetz
May 26, 2020 - 11:04 AM

Sheri Okrainetz had an unexpected visit from a brown bear yesterday morning after putting her dog outside.

At about 8:30 a.m. May 25, Okrainetz and her husband heard her dog start barking at her Vernon home in Desert Cove.

They were aware of bears in the area because they received notice from their neighbours that a few had been seen around on the weekend so they took their bird feeders down. But that didn’t deter this bear from traipsing through the backyard.

There are 400 houses around here, so it’s unusual to see a bear, she said. They’re more likely to see ducks in their yard than bears.

“My dog was freaking out and I was trying to scare him out of the yard,” she said.

The bear didn’t appear to be aggressive towards them, and she didn’t call the Conservation Service because “there have been enough reports of bears in the area.”

She said some residents appear to be leaving the garage out overnight before garbage day, which may have attracted the bear.

The Conservation Service has recently warned residents about bears and is ramping up patrols to reduce conflicts with bears in communities, according to the service's Facebook page.

“Public safety is paramount. The (Conservation Officer Service) cannot stress enough that the best way to keep people safe and bears from being destroyed is to secure attractants around your home, business and property. This can help prevent dangerous wildlife from coming into communities and creating a public safety concern,” according to a recent Facebook post.

READ MORE: WildSafeBC calls on Penticton to keep mother bear and her five cubs safe

As part of these patrols, Conservation Officers will be in neighbourhoods and other areas, checking to see if attractants are secured by using bear-proof bins, picking excess fruit from trees, using electric fencing around livestock and other measures, according to the post.

“As the COVID-19 outbreak means more people stay home, this creates opportunity for garbage and other attractants to pile up – but also more opportunities to manage them,” said Doug Forsdick, chief Conservation Officer, in the post. “We hope people take this opportunity to assess their properties for potential attractants and ensure they are properly stored. Communities where attractants are managed properly experience fewer human-wildlife conflicts and fewer animals destroyed.”

Conservation Officers are targeting areas with a history of bear conflicts.

READ MORE: Know who doesn't care about COVID-19? Hungry bears out of hibernation

During the first phase of patrols, which wrapped in late last fall, officers completed more than 700 inspections, issued more than 75 charges, 300 warnings and 350 Dangerous Wildlife Protection Orders, which direct a property owner to remove an attractant or face a $575 fine, according to the post.

For more wildlife tips visit WildSafeBC.


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