Bears spotted around Kitimat

Conservation Officers are asking people to call in bear sightings to help them better track bear movements in town.

Numerous bear sightings in Kitimat have put residents on alert.

The Conservation Officer Service confirmed there’s been some reports of grizzlies and black bears in the Kitimat area but so far human conflicts with them have been minimal.

Terrace-based Conservation Officer Ryan Gordon says there’s been approximately three calls for black bears in Kitimat, and just a couple for grizzlies.

“Typically there could be a few hanging around in town, [and] there’s probably a dozen more on the river that don’t generally want to be near people.”

He said the sightings have been out in Cablecar and even in downtown Kitimat near the mall.

The spike in bear sightings he said is a reminder to take away bear attractants from your home.

“It’s the time of year, and grizzly bears and black bears are trying to fatten up for winter. They can get pushed in to town if there’s attractants. We’ll still see fruit on trees…so they’ll be drawn in to town for that. And then garbage obviously smells good and fatty so they’ll be drawn in to town as well by unsecured garbage.”

He said any instance of bear ‘conflict’ in Kitimat so far has been in black bears accessing garbage. He said there are no reports of grizzly bears breaking in to people’s garbage cans.

Gordon said taking care of your garbage is ultimately the best thing you can do to not attract bears.

“Same with barbecues. Make sure your barbecues are all cleaned up,” he said.

Gordon also encouraged people to call the RAPP hotline rather than the RCMP for animal issues as the RCMP can be busy with other files.

The RAPP number is 1-877-952-7277.

Even if it’s not something COs will respond to calling in information helps.

“Sometimes we might not respond to every complaint we get but it helps us pattern animals and when we do go set a trap it makes it easier for us to get a good location to set that trap and have a higher success rate that way.”