PARKSVILLE — Conflicts between humans and black bears are down a bit on the mid-island this year, but reports have suddenly surged in the Oceanside area.
Stuart Bates, acting Sgt. for the central island for the BC Conservation Officer Service, told NanaimoNewsNOW there have been several reports recently of bears on the prowl for unnatural food sources in rural areas of Oceanside.
“We have several bears in the Errington area, a few have developed a taste for chickens,” Bates said. “We’ve directed those farmers on how to provide electric fencing and how to store feeds more securely.”
Bates said besides feasting on chickens, garbage and compost bins are popular bear-fare in Oceanside. He said bear traps have been set up in Errington, Whiskey Creek and Qualicum Beach.
He noted their officers responded to 52 bear complaint calls in May on the mid-island, spanning Chemainus to Deep Bay. He said in May of last year an astonishing 137 such calls were placed.
Bates said no bears have been killed by conservation officers on the mid-island in 2018.
“We have some people really pushing people not to call the conservation officers because they think all we’ll do is shoot the bear. Unfortunately, that usually leads to people waiting until it’s too late to do anything but shoot the bear.”
Conservation officers can issue $230 fines under the Wildlife Act for leaving out attractants that dangerous animals like bears, cougars, and wolves can access.
Conflicts involving humans and wildlife reported to the BC Conservation Officer Service can be viewed on an interactive map courtesy of WildSafeBC.
Wildlife sightings in urban areas can be reported to 1-877-952-7277 or by dialing #7277 on cell phones.