It might only be a month into spring, but already B.C. conservation officers have responded to over 300 bear conflicts since April 1.
The statistics are not usual according to Deputy Chief of the BC Conservation Officer, Chris Doyle. While numbers may seem high, Doyle said it hasn’t shown to be any different than previous years.
“They cause what’s known as bear jams, where people stop to photograph the bears, look at the bears or feed the bears,” said Doyle
“The problem with that is that it causes the bears to be habituated to people. It also does cause bears to get hit by vehicles on the highways, because if they are getting fed, they’re going to be attracted to those cars and they may dart out onto the highway quickly.”
Doyle said the problem is mainly in southwestern B.C. now and will pick up farther north in coming weeks.
A perennial hotspot for bear conflicts is along the North Shore and up the lower Fraser River, extending from North Vancouver to Maple Ridge where housing development abuts with mountain terrain.
Doyle said proper garbage management and use of bear-proof containers will help minimize contact.
With camping season starting, Doyle stressed the need to keep garbage secure.
“Those can be dangerous situations when you have a bear wandering around a campground.”