Conservation Officers in the North Okanagan are being flooded with calls about bears this week from Coldstream.
The problem, they say, is that people are leaving their garbage out and bringing these bears down from the woods.
Conservation Officer Tanner Beck says they do not want to put down the bears, but if residents don't start cleaning up the bears will get habituated and that is when the officers have to step in.
“At this point I don’t think the bear or bears deserve to be put down because of what they are doing, it is about getting the message out to the public to secure their attractants and then they will hopefully go back to doing what bears do naturally and feeding on natural food sources,” says Beck.
Conservation has received over a dozen calls from the Coldstream area alone. Beck says the calls are typically from the urban-interface area, that last street before the bush, or in the green belt that bears use as travel corridors.
“Right now it is a public education thing, if people put the attractants away the bears will have no reason to come into their yards or close to homes. If people don't, then bears may access it and come into the community.”
One Coldstream resident on Cypress Drive who shared the video above says he has seen a bear in their yard four times this week alone.
He says they've called conservation twice asking for help and were told to keep their garbage inside and that the bears will eventually leave.
“They are not willing to address it at this time,” says the resident. “We've had garbage inside for the week. At least two bears use our yard to pass through to neighbours. They pass through the back play area and the driveway."
They feel something needs to get done quick as they have a 6-year-old daughter and their neighbours have young girls as well. In the meantime, their dog Brock has taken it upon himself to chase the bears out of their yard as seen in the above video
Conservation says the bears are not doing anything wrong or showing any aggression and they do not want to resort to putting the bears down. That is why they are pleading with residents to clean up.
“We need to get the message out to the public that is on them to manage their attractants (garbage, dog food etc.), we do not want to put down a bear, but unfortunately sometimes it leads to that if people continue leaving attractants out,” says Beck.
He adds that the three biggest issues they have come across in Coldstream are garbage left out, easy access bird feeders and pet food being left outside.
“If the bear becomes too habituated to unnatural food sources, because of the attractants, it can lead to us having to put the bear down to preserve public safety.”