The BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) is reminding people that, despite the colder weather, bears remain very active on the Sunshine Coast and residents need to be careful about attractants.
Conservation officer Leyland Klassen said there have been several bear-related calls in the Gibsons area so far this month.
Klassen said black bear hibernation patterns are governed by the seasons, but also by food availability. “Historically, bears would hibernate because food isn’t available – that’s why they build fat reserves through the fall … but if people leave attractants out, that’s non-natural food bears can easily access [and] you’re getting rid of that piece.”
Klassen said the most recent bear calls in Gibsons have all been due to attractant issues, mainly garbage and containers with food residue in them that were left where bears could get at them. But he added that the problem isn’t unique to Gibsons.
“A lot of people let their guard down in the winter, but my advice would be to keep attractant management the same throughout the year in order to make it a habit,” he said.
Klassen said the COS didn’t levy any fines under the Wildlife Act as a result of the calls in Gibsons and instead advised the property owners about ways to deal with the attractants on their property, including properly washing any containers that need to be left outside until garbage or recycling pickup or your next trip to the depot.
The COS is also hoping to do more “attractant patrols” in the areas where bears are still active and offer advice and education. Klassen said anyone having an issue with bears should call the RAPP Line at 1-877-952-7277.