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.

Just Posted

Raising awareness about Cystic Fibrosis through a movie

B.C. mother shares the story of her child suffering from the fatal genetic disease

SD91 and UNBC held a workshop where students discussed community stressors

Youth voices are important and need to be heard, says UNBC researcher

BC Search and Rescue Association receives $18.6 million in funding

Largest injection of funds in the history of Ground SAR, says BCSARA secretary Chris Mushumanski

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read