Langdale residents deal with ‘extremely’ habituated bear

Residents in the Langdale area are being asked to be extra vigilant about attractants due to a mature adult male bear that appears to be “extremely” habituated to humans and human food sources, including entering homes.

Residents have observed the bear daily and it has entered at least two homes with residents on the property, according to Conservation Officer Service (COS) Sgt. Dean Miller.

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The COS assessed a risk to public safety after speaking to a complainant and neighbours, and placed a trap on a road near a forested lot in a residential area last week. The trap was removed after a few days without a capture.

“A lot of bears, especially this time of year, are quite shy of the trap,” Miller told Coast Reporter. “We didn’t want to have it sitting out there when there’s not going to be a capture.”

The presence of the bear trap caused concern among some residents, but the COS confirmed its removal was not related to those concerns. “The trap was moved not by any public pressure,” said Miller, adding the bear has “gone into houses and so for us it meets a public safety criteria.”

The COS is planning to conduct education and potential inspections for attractants in the Langdale area and beyond, since the range for male bears is large.

Common attractants include garbage, domestic fruit, bird feeders, pet food, barbecues and compost. If an attractant poses a safety risk, a COS officer has the authority to issue a dangerous wildlife protection order, with some exceptions, according to B.C.’s Wildlife Act.

And while people should be careful to keep attractants such as garbage and tree fruit secured and out of reach, it’s reasonable for residents to keep their windows open during the hot summer months, said Miller.

Entering a home is “completely unnatural behaviour for any wildlife to wilfully do,” said Miller, who suspects the bear was habituated last year. “I just don’t see a bear going to this extreme in the summer without having an annual habituation pattern.”

The Langdale bear aside, this summer has been “manageable” in terms of bear calls, said Miller, noting the consistent rain and lower temperatures compared to other years may be a factor.  

The COS has also been able to take more enforcement action and educate residents, and a WildsafeBC coordinator has also been educating the public this season.

WildsafeBC Sunshine Coast is also looking for volunteers. For more information contact community coordinator Erin Heeney at: sunshinecoast@wildsafebc.com or call 604-885-6800 ext. 6476

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