Busy Time of Year for Human-Grizzly Conflicts
Prince George, B.C. – The BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) has been busy responding to grizzly and black bear-human conflicts this month.
During a teleconference this afternoon, deputy chief Chris Doyle documented the most recent cases:
- The COS has responded to several complaints of grizzly bears in the town of Bella Coola. He says some of the bears have been naturally feeding on salmon in the Bella Coola River but as those runs dissipate he says some have been turning their attention to abandoned fruit trees and garbage. “CO’s have trapped and moved seven grizzlies from the town site in the last week,” said Doyle.
- A male hunter was mauled by a grizzly on the afternoon of October 1 near Morin Lake, a half an hour northeast of Smithers. Doyle said the hunter came face to face with the 800-pound bear after stepping over a log. He said the bear attacked him and noted after it turned to leave the hunter shot it twice. Doyle said he later managed to find his way to safety noting the bear was found dead days later. The man was treated for his injuries and survived.
- On October 4 a grizzly killed a moose and stored it between a dozen cabins and near the head of a popular hiking trail on Hudson Bay Mountain in Smithers. Doyle said conservation officers were able to move the moose carcass to an area that was further away from the trail and cabins without incident. The grizzly was neither shot nor tranquilized.
- A large male grizzly that was photographed and videoed was captured and relocated near Sechelt.
- On October 6, two people in Squamish were charged by a black bear in their backyard. A male and female were slightly injured after the bear swatted at them. Doyle said due to the nature of the incident and the bears history of conflict, it was subsequently destroyed.
To date Doyle said there have been 18,000 human-wildlife reported conflicts since April 1st in B.C which he noted is par for the course this time of year.
“It seems to be right about average. We’ll wait and see how the whole season plays out,” he said. “This year September was a particularly busy month in some areas, however looking back to last September, there was even higher numbers last year.”
Doyle said bear conflict is more common this time of year as the animals prepare to “den up” for the winter.
He said the best way to avoid conflict with bears is to secure your garbage and pick your fruit trees.
“And as a reminder, it’s an offense under the BC Wildlife Act to feed dangerous wildlife or to negligently store attractants that may attract dangerous wildlife.”