It’s that time of year — dozy bears are waking up from their hibernation slumber in northwestern B.C.
Conservation officers are reminding the public to be bear-aware by making sure anything that may be tempting to bears is secured and cleared out.
Michael Geuze, conservation officer for the Skeena region, says while there haven’t been reports of problem bears yet, they have been spotted along Hwy 16 and 37. It’s important to get rid of anything that may encourage a bear to venture into town.
“They’re going to be foraging pretty heavily now that they’re out of hibernation,” Geuze says.
Bears typically hibernate from late fall to early spring, and often emerge from their dens looking for food to replace the fat sources they lost over the winter months.
Their keen sense of smell can draw them to garbage cans, bird feeders, vehicles — anything that can ring their dinner bell.
Geuze says the public should keep garbage in a secure, bear-proof container and inside a garage or shed. It’s also advised not put out garbage for collection until the morning of.
Taking down bird feeders, ensuring grease and fat left on barbecues is cleaned after use, managing compost and keeping pet food inside can also safeguard against curious bears.
Geuze urges people who spot a bear, especially near homes, to call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277. He says there were some issues last year of people posting photos of foraging bears on social media instead of calling conservation officers first.
Keeping attractants out in the open or feeding dangerous wildlife can also result in fines of up to $575 under the BC Wildlife Act.