People are reminded not to leave out food that can attract bears. File photo

Bear incidents tripled in Bulkley Valley-Stikine area

Conservation handled, which can involve killing or relocating, 90 bears in the area this year.

The British Columbia Conservation office said they handled, which can involve killing or relocating, 90 bears in the Bulkley Valley-Stikine area this year. That is three times the yearly average.

Conservation officer Kevin Nixon said this is the result of a combination of factors. At the moment, the black bear population is very high because of three good summers of berry crops in a row. This led to a lot of triplets and twins being born.

Another factor is people have been improperly disposing of their garbage. Bears have gone into towns to feed on garbage and in Smithers, in particular, they come for chicken feed.

One of the requirements for owning a chicken in Smithers is “feed must be stored in such a manner as to not provide an attractant to bears, other wildlife, or vermin.” Nixon said people have not been following this rule and as a result more bears have wondered into town.

“We just find it very, very frustrating because once a bear gets a taste for garbage, or gets a taste for chicken feed, people can secure it after the fact but now that bear is trained and he’s going to rip off a shed door to get at it,” Nixon said. “In a lot of cases that’s what happened.”

Nixon said in addition to properly enforcing chicken feed regulations, implementing bylaws that would prevent people from putting garbage out the night before it’s to be picked up and requiring garbage be securely contained would vastly reduce the number of human-bear conflicts.

“I can show you numerous paragraphs in the human wildlife conflict reports that we get from the public that says right in it, ‘bear getting into my garbage five nights nights in a row what are you guys gonna do about it,’ and it’s surprises us,” Nixon said. “Where is the responsibility of the owners of the property, where is the Town and the Village council sitting on all this.”

Councillor Gladys Atrill put forward a motion last Tuesday, which council voted in favour of, to start an official dialogue with the conservation office regarding the number bear incidents in town involving chicken feed.

“We can through our staff and with the support of the [conservation officers] reach out to people who have chickens in town and just make sure they’re aware and in fact storing the food properly,” said Atrill. “That’s a first step.”

Bears will always be apart of daily life in Smithers because of the numerous trails and the greenbelts around town, Nixon said.

According to Nixon, bears will maraud throughout town during the night and hide in greenbelts in the day. The conservation office has been called to deal with bears in school yards and behind Safeway.

Five black bears were put down in Smithers this year.

If you see a bear in town Nixon urges you to call 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 if Telus is your service provider. If the situation is not an emergency, report the incident online or contact the local conservation office.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Directional traffic change coming to one-way street beside McLeod Elementary

This change will be in effect starting Monday, Oct. 5.

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Most Read