A large black bear eating dandelions near Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Park.

BearAware program ready to come out of hibernation

Reducing human-bear conflicts chief goal of the educational program

With the arrival of spring weather, bears and humans will soon be meeting each other on roadways, trails, and both urban and rural settings.

As news story after news story will attest, the arrival of a bear into close proximity with humans often ends badly for the bear.

BearAware is an educational program owned by the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, with funding support from various levels of government and private organizations.

Those involved in the program work with municipalities, regional districts, local societies and volunteer groups to try and reduce the number of conflicts between bears and humans.

Frank Ritcey, provincial BearAware co-ordinator based in Kamloops, said bear activity is increasing near the coast but here in the Kootenay and throughout the interior it’s usually the first week of May when they start to come out in force. A local coordinator will also be getting out into the community in May,

“The thing that brings bears out in the spring, is not so much the weather but their fat stores,” said Ritcey who was reached by telephone. “If they go into hibernation with a really good, heavy layer of fat they can stay in much longer but if they go in and don’t have enough fat on them, it may cause them to come out earlier.”

Ritcey said most bears are pretty skinny when they come out of hibernation, losing up to about 30 per cent of their body weight in a winter.

“If the hillsides there don’t green up quickly, then the bears won’t have food to eat and they will come into town,” he said. “People have to be cognizant of that, if it’s a late cold spring and there is not a lot of food for the bears.”

BearAware is also supported by many other sponsors and volunteers. To lend a hand, contact Ritcey at the BC Conservation Foundation in Kamloops at 250-828-2551, email at bearawareprogram@bccf.com or visit the webpage for a list of local contacts at www.bearaware.bc.ca.

To report problem wildlife or bears in an urban setting call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

 

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Lemon Creek fuel truck driver gets $20,000 fine

Danny LaSante was sentenced in Nelson court today

South Slocan woman killed in Friday crash

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries School’s got talent

Talent show to be held Feb. 21 at Brilliant Cultural Centre

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read