Bears are on the loose in Kitimat and the problem is attractants, the Conservation Officer Service said, on Sept. 22, adding the public’s assistance is needed to curb the trouble.
Zane Testawich, conservation officer, told the Kitimat Northern Sentinel the COS is receiving an increasing number of calls daily regarding bears in the district.
“The message is that if people do not want a bear in their yard or in their fruit trees then they needed to clear their garbage, and any other attractants in their yard,” he said, this includes recycling and birdfeeders.
Calls to the COS, the District of Kitimat and the RCMP have increased substantially in the last three to four weeks with officers from Terrace now attending Kitimat on a daily basis.
Many residents have done a fantastic job in managing the situation with attractants, Testawich said, but there is a bigger message.
“The people who fail to manage the attractants are the people who are seeing and are having these interactions with bears. By interactions, I mean, the bears are in their garbage, the bears are in unpicked fruit trees or eating the fruit off the ground under the tree. So, if we can just get more people on board we would have to deal less with bears in the District of Kitimat,” Testawich said.
“We want people to secure all these attractants. We want the garbage stored in a shed. If they don’t have a shed the District of Kitimat has many options. They have a local dump which is a short 10 mins. drive away. They have pick-up Mon. through Fri. on regularly scheduled days.”
If residents can’t get rid of their own garbage, the COS suggests contacting friends to assist, or perhaps use a dumpster at their work, with permission from their employer.
Bears are coming into town searching for food sources to bulk up on calories before entering hibernation.
“Generally, within the community, we’re seeing black bears into the garbage … There have been quite a few grizzly bear sightings, but a lot of them are along the riverbank.”
The conservation officer said with the recent heavy rain the river bank has blown out and this affects the bear’s feeding habits. The regular food, such as salmon or carcasses, leftover on the river banks has now washed away.
“Those bears are going to be looking for garbage cans, essentially within the district of Kitimat. It’s more important now than ever to make sure that those attractants are secured,” the COS officer said, adding that with so many attractants around bears are now roaming and searching for food sources during the day.
Any bear sighting should be reported to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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