A bear stands in a field of hemlock parsley. (Courtesy Doug Jones)

A bear stands in a field of hemlock parsley. (Courtesy Doug Jones)

Black bears need wild food, not Vancouver Island garbage: B.C. Conservation

May berries be the best treat they find this spring

We’re nearing the time when Vancouver Island bear sightings begin to skyrocket exponentially, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, and with it comes a few important reminders.

Bears are wild creatures even if you spot them in a parking lot, or lumbering down an urban street.

They, like us, love high-carb, calorie-dense human food, but also like us, really should be sticking to more fresh greens and berries.

Human foods, being more calorie dense, will fill up a hungry bear faster than grass, leaves and huckleberries, so it’s easy to understand why they come back for more.

But access to human food risks bears believing that food belongs to them, which can make them territorial over a dumpster, say, and lead to conflict with humans.

ALSO READ: Wild Wise Sooke reminds public to be aware of bears

Already during April Wildsafe BC has 43 recorded black bear sightings throughout the Capital Regional District area alone.

By May, that number can be expected to triple, and by June possibly quadruple, based on previous years’ provincial call numbers to the Conservation Officer Service for black bears. Last May alone, conservation officers destroyed 111 black bears across all of B.C. because they had become a threat to humans.

Garbage is by far the primary attractant, based on what conservation officers observe on calls, followed a long way down by fruit trees and the like.

Trash is such a draw for the bruins that some B.C. municipalities have bylaws about garbage storage, and folks can be fined for putting bins out too early for curbside pickup.

So let this be an an annual reminder to keep garbage secured, and food inaccessible to our furry friends. May berries be the best treat they find this spring.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

What attracts black bears by the numbers, from 2014-2018. (WildSafe BC chart)



Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bearsWest ShoreWildlife

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The site of the King George Hotel in Cumberland. Photo by Mike Chouinard
VIU students research Cumberland’s past, future

Specific practicum topics were King George Hotel’s significance, densification incentives

Courtenay–Alberni MP Gord Johns says 12 million Canadians do not have dental insurance. Photo by Bofu Shaw, courtesy of Unsplash
Courtenay–Alberni MP, CDA consider dental care for all Canadians

Gord Johns has initiated a mail-out that asks constituents the date of… Continue reading

A 407 Squadron CP-140 Aurora, along with a Halifax-Class frigate enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea in support of Op Neon in 2019. Canadian Forces photo/submitted
407 Squadron defends Canada for 80 years

The Comox-based squadron celebrating special anniversary

Jasmine Francoeur from Comox is an aviation technician for the Snowbirds air demonstration team. Photo by Canadian Forces/submitted
Comox’s Jasmine Francoeur’s career comes full circle with the Snowbirds

“To fly out here, fly into my hometown, it’s very special and I feel very lucky”

The school board is endorsing a national coalition for healthy food in schools. Screenshot, Comox Valley Schools
Comox Valley school board backs national healthy food initiative

Coalition for Healthy School Food wants federal government to invest in food program

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel bloom boom on Vancouver Island’

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Most Read