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General News · 27th September 2019
FOCI - Helen
Apples have ripened and are less plentiful than a month ago, and the friendly bear(s) is becoming too friendly, developing a taste for pet and livestock feed. Friends of Cortes Island's (FOCI’s) primer on living with wolves also applies to black bears. Please check this link: https://www.friendsofcortes.org/media-room/living-with-wolves/

There are a number of local reports since early September that a back bear has broken into containers and bins that stored pet or livestock feed. In a recent account, a bear broke through the firewood door into a closed entrance way, and dragged a large container of dog food into the forest. This bear returned the following night, and was met with a hullabaloo of pots and bright lights, effectively hazing the bear away.

In another account, a large black bear rolled a freezer over that was storing livestock feed, and also reached into a partially open car window. The common threads in these various accounts is that the bear (s) is operating at night, is attracted to feed and garbage, and is beginning to move into human space. Recent bear activity has been located in the Whaletown, Olmstead, Coulter Bay area.

The sobering concern is that this bear (s) has become too familiar with humans and is developing a taste for food other than apples, possibly as it needs higher fat and protein in its diet as it readies itself for winter. FOCI has not heard of any harm to pets.

WildSafeBC has an excellent website providing highly informative material on wildlife and preventing human wildlife conflict including how we can reduce human-bear conflicts in all aspects of our lives including where we live, work, play (hike and enjoy the outdoors) and grow food
The following excerpts are quoted from this website:.

“WildSafeBC is the provincial leader in preventing conflict with wildlife through collaboration, education and community solutions. It has evolved out of the highly successful Bear Aware program”

“BC boasts one of the highest populations of black bears in the world with their numbers being somewhere between 120 and 150 thousand animals. Pretty much all of BC is considered “bear country” with bears inhabiting everything from the coastal forests, through to the interior grasslands.”

“Bears have an extremely good sense of smell and can smell food from over a kilometre away. Bears have a sense of smell far greater than that of dogs and it is this sense of smell that helps them locate food at great distances.”

“As long as a bear is moving through our community, is not lingering, and is not interacting with us or our property then there is no conflict. When bears quit moving through the community and start using the community as a foraging area for human-provided foods then conflicts develop.”

“Once a bear starts equating humans with foods, they can lose their natural wariness of humans and become what is called human-habituated. An habituated bear tolerates humans in much closer proximity than what is safe for both bears and humans. This increases the potential for a dangerous interaction between the bears and us.”

The Conservation Officers in Campbell River have been contacted and made aware of these incidents, and they have indicated that they will not be doing anything at this date. There is a central phone number for the BC Conservation Officer Services if people feel the need to report further incidents 1-877-952-7277

Are your property and buildings “Bear Smart”? Please read in full the ways you can keep your home safe so that the Cortes bear(s) stay safe. Go to WildSafeBC.com for further excellent information.

Is your garbage stored in a secure place? Maybe garbage should be put out early Saturday morning rather than Friday night for the next few weeks.

Is you pet or livestock feed stored in a secure place (not just a secure container)?

How about your compost and barbecue?
How are you disposing of fish scraps?
What about your bird feeders?


We all need to do our part in preventing human/wildlife conflict, and especially for the next couple of months. Let’s be a Bear Smart community!


photos?
Comment by Wendy Legare on 1st October 2019
Good first hand reporting, thanks!

How about some eye witness photos...for a Tideline Bear Smart collage.
Bear pies are usually the size and shape dropped by cows but filled with apple and fruit chunks and look a little like a Fruit Crisp.
Yum. :>)
bears
Comment by Heather on 1st October 2019
Hi, having moved here in the Spring I am still baffled by the complete obliviousness about bears. Why do people leave their garbage and recycling out, especially on Friday nights for animals to get into? Outdoor freezers and fridges, orchards for the taking... I've been living in bear land for 15 years and it is not that hard. Yes I even had a bear yearling in my house as my cat let him in to have cat food. The bears loved helping rotate the compost. But fruit had to be picked, pet and livestock food kept under wraps. and no food left in cars! I miss the bears.
Bear in Whaletown featured in this article
Comment by Inga on 30th September 2019
The bear in Whaletown is definitely a male. Huge and very well fed. He is not satisfied with apples anymore.
must be a mama bear
Comment by sonya friesen on 30th September 2019
because we saw a baby bear in Squirrel Cove near store, yesterday , so mama must be near by
no sex no stay
Comment by loyd fairweather on 29th September 2019
We have a 50% chance the bear is male.If so then no sex then no stay.Poor guy has to swim back to his female love life.
leave a radio on near your chicken coop, etc.
Comment by myann on 27th September 2019
A trick that beekeepers use is to leave a radio on to repel bears. Talk radio is much better than music stations because it is the sound of human voices that makes bears wary. In my experience it keeps racoons away too.