The bear situation in Castlegar continues to be troublesome. The number of local bears that have been put down has now reached at least ten, and reports of bear conflicts continue to rise.
Castlegar Wildsafe Community Coordinator Jenny Wallace doesn’t expect things to improve for another two or three weeks. “The issue now is that as all of the apples and pears on people’s trees start to be eaten by bears or picked by people, I think a lot of these bears will start to move towards garbage,” said Wallace.
Interesting stories have surfaced about bear encounters. One Castlegar resident had three bears repeatedly visiting her property to go swimming in her pool during the night. Another resident had two young bears trying to figure out what to do with her hammock. Unfortunately, not all stories are as charming. A sow and her two cubs had to be put down last week after they were deemed to be problem bears.
Continual emphasis on the necessity of residents to control attractants such as garbage and fruit must be made, followed by diligence on the part of property owners to follow through with their actions.
The City of Castlegar has been working on addressing attractant issues. In recent weeks they have removed unpicked fruit from trees on city property. Bear resistant bins have been installed on Zuckerberg Island and the 9th Avenue park, both high bear activity areas. This is in addition to the 8 other new bear resistant bins already installed this year. Unnecessary open garbage cans from city streets in high conflict areas have also been removed.
“In light of the current bear activity, residents should not be alarmed to see bears passing through town. Castlegar is situated in pretty prime black bear habitat, after all,” said Wallace. “As long as there are no attractants available on your property, bears should keep moving through without conflict.”
If you have questions or concerns about the bear activity or want a bear safety refresher, you can contact Jenny Wallace at 250-365-8971. If you want to report any bear sightings or conflicts you should call the Conservation Officer RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.