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Conservation reports rise in human/bear conflicts

Keep bear attractants in check, otherwise, you’ll get an unwanted visitor.

This is what the Conservation Officer Service (COS) is stressing after a jump in human/bear conflicts this year.

North Island conservation officer Steve Petrovcic crunched some local numbers compared to 2018.

They include:

Courtenay: 139 (2018),  204 (2019 to current)

Comox: 37 (2018), 51 (2019 to current)

Cumberland: two (2018), seven (2019 to current)

Campbell River: 357 (2018),  391 (2019 to current)

Union Bay: four (2018), eight (2019 to current)

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Merville: five (2018), six (2019 to current)

Fanny Bay: two (2018), two (2019 to current)

Buckley Bay:  one (2018), zero (2019 to current)

In Powell River, the Wildlife Alert Reporting Program shows 293 black bear sightings, and conservation officers have had to destroy five bears so far.

In Port Hardy, the COS has been called to 213 sightings since Jan. 1. Five bears have had to be destroyed by officers.

Petrovcic said conservation officers are ramping up their patrols in different communities to evaluate attractant management.  

He added that he has spoken to managers of apartment buildings and commercial properties with commercial dumpsters about properly securing their bins to keep bears from roaming into complexes.

The province says the most effective way to keep bears away is to put garbage, birdseed, compost and pet food away, and to keep fruit from trees off the ground.

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