Sayward’s acting mayor, Bill Ives, spotted this grizzly bear in the vicinity while he was out on a walk. (Submitted photo)

After grizzly spotted in Sayward, mayor warns not to come searching for the bears

Wildlife warnings have been issued in Sayward, but people are ignoring it and going out in search of the bear to get photographs

Sayward has issued a wildlife warning after a grizzly bear was spotted in the area.

Acting mayor, Bill Ives, said that there may be two grizzlies that have been in the area for a couple of weeks. Days ago, a grizzly was spotted on the wharf at the marina.

RCMP and B.C. conservation have warned people to stay away from Kelly’s trail and the Estuary trail due to the bear’s presence in the area.

Although grizzlies on Vancouver Island are unheard of, they prefer to stay away due to high human density. However grizzlies have been spotted in Sayward previously too.

“Last year I spotted a bear in my backyard,” said Ives. He also pointed out that based on a study conducted in 2019, Sayward may be home to seven grizzlies.

To insure public safety, signs have been posted and caution tape has been put up.

Ignoring protocol, people have been getting out of their homes in search of the bear, since they are not a common sight on this part of the Island.

Ives said that this is a major concern as people stepping out to see grizzlies and take pictures could compromise the safety of the public and the bear.

“Everyone thinks they are photographers when they hear about the grizzly and head out searching for it,” said Ives.

“People need to be level-headed and not go looking for trouble,” said Ives who is worried that reckless behaviour exhibited by humans could further endanger the safety of the bear.

“We don’t want to see the bear getting shot,” he said.

So far, since the bear was spotted, no wildlife conflict has been reported, said Ives. He added that the problem arises only when they begin rummaging through the garbage.

B.C. conservation services has advised residents to store garbage in locked areas at all times except during collection day and to put it out only closer to collection time. Any source of food attractants and food storage facilities must be secured, including keeping fridges and freezers secure and locked inside garages.

READ ALSO: Grizzly bear photographed on Vancouver Island north of Campbell River

READ ALSO: Grizzly bear just relocated from Vancouver Island shot dead

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