Vernon resident used to spring bear sightings but not repeat visits

The bear came back!

Tracey Prediger

Every year Shannon Yochim expects to see a bear wandering around her yard which backs onto Davison Orchards off Crosby Road.

Last year she was visited by a cinnamon bear and this year it’s a black bear.

“We usually see one every year around May, but this year it’s early,” said Yochim.

The timing of this year’s sighting is slightly ahead of schedule but what is more worrisome to Yochim is that this bear has shown up two mornings in a row.

“We were just talking about how we should be bringing in our composting now and then we forgot so he got into it. The next morning he came back with a neighbour’s garbage.”

The consecutive sightings, which started Sunday morning, had the bear showing up in Yochim’s yard just after 3 a.m.

Because of the bear’s size, Yochim believes it’s a male and says he’s a "really big guy," looks healthy and has a shiny coat. Because of where she lives Yochim is no stranger to seeing critters in her yard. She’s seen bobcats, deer, martins, coyotes, raccoons and marmots over the years and is always letting her neighbours know what sort of critter is on the prowl in the Bella Vista area.

This sighting should serve as a reminder to remove anything that would attract bears, who are known for their acute sense of smell, to your home. Any food source like garbage, composting, and even dog food should be brought inside the garage because any bear that gets used to feeding off garbage, will likely need to be put down.

Vernon area wildlife expert Pete Wise has said although bears are primarily vegetarians, when they come out of hibernation they will eat pretty much anything and deer are among their favourite.

“Everyone talks about coyotes and wolves, but bears are the No. 1 killer when it comes to ungulate species. That has been well documented,” said Wise in a previous interview.

According to WildSafeBC, black bears are the most common bears in Canada and can actually come in a variety of colours. British Columbia has some of the highest black bear populations in the world with estimates of up to 150,000 animals.

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