KAMLOOPS — Valleyview residents have had a new neighbour in the community. A black bear has been spotted coming out of his den just up the hill side from homes in the area. Residence say the bear has been coming a little too close for comfort, climbing into backyards several times. But what was most surprising for some, was how early the bear started coming around.
"From my experience, normally from the middle to end of May is when you would see a bear running around, and I saw this guy in the middle of February, you know when he first popped his head out of that hole up there," said Valleyview resident, Scott Lovell.
"It was almost a daily routine where I would have to go up on the hill to pick up garbage cause he was dragging all the garbage that he would gather together from the neighborhood garbage cans, he would drag that up the hill and break the bags open and then it would blow around all over the place."
The problem has lead conservation officers to put in a bear trap to remove the wild animal from the area.
"When we assess the risk to public safety to a point where the bear is just going to continue to access peoples backyards, we have to capture that bear, they are destroyed, we can't move them anywhere, if we were to move them they would just simply come back to the same area and often times the same house," said Kevin VanDam, Kamloops Conservation Officer.
A problem bear has already been reported in Juniper as well this season, and Wild Safe BC says that could be a result of bears going into hibernation hungry.
"We had that really great hot summer, and berry crops did very well, but they dried up early, so instead of being able to eat the berries right into the fall, the bears didn't have the same level of food, and without those fat stores, the bears have to get up earlier because they've run out of energy," said Frank Ritcey, Provincial WildSafeBC Coordinator.
Conservation officers say the main attractant for the animals is always garbage and want to reiterate the importance of keeping it locked up until collection.
"Once a bear is known to be in an area, you need to move your garbage into a secure location. it's not the bears fault," VanDam stated.
A city by-law prohibiting residents from putting their garbage out before 4am on pick-up days takes effect April 1st.
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