Residents throughout Vancouver Island are being reminded to be cautious and manage their attractants as bears have were spotted around residential areas this past weekend.
Two bears were spotted rummaging through backyards in Comox near Anderton Road and a bear was spotted walking down Alderwood Place in east Courtenay Sunday morning following sightings at the nearby Sandwick Park.
Brad Adams, a conservation officer with the Ministry of Environment said they have been receiving a lot of calls about bears in the Comox, Courtenay and north Island areas and added attractant management strategies are critical at this time of the year.
“Some bears on the Island don’t hibernate and stay awake all winter because of the access to food sources. If bears have access to garbage or bird feeders, these attractants can be influencing bears to an area.”
He noted securing garbage, keeping it in a shed and even removing bird feeders are all ways to minimize attractants as even small sources, such as the smell of food on recycling containers can habituate bears and slowly reduce their fear of humans.
With significant greenspace surrounding urban areas of the Valley, Adams explained it’s not unusual to see bears in town if there is something – such as food – drawing them there.
“A bear is not comfortable in urban areas; you might see them looking over their shoulder but their desire to find a food source is what (is drawing them in).”
He suggested if a resident encounters a bear in an urban area to back away slowly and not run, to ensure pets are nearby and are on a leash, to talk to the bear, appear physically large and to call conservation at 1-877-952-7277 to report the sighting.
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