Skip to content

Bear encounters increase in region

WildSafeBC releases annual report on human/wildlife conflicts
WILD ENCOUNTERS: Reported incidents of conflicts between Powell River area residents and wildlife increased slightly in 2017, with bears accounting for 194 of the 287 calls to BC Conservation Officer Service. Contributed photo

Conflicts between humans and wildlife in the Powell River area in 2017 were slightly above average, with black bear encounters the most highly reported incidents.

Figures were contained in the recently released WildSafeBC annual report for Powell River Regional District. A total of 287 human/wildlife conflicts were reported from January through October.

From January to November last year, 194 human/bear conflicts accounted for the most reports to BC Conservation Officer Service’s Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline. In 2016, the number of bear-related calls was 180.

Conservation officers had to destroy eight bears this year, much lower than 2015 when 38 were killed.

“Those aren't always bears that are in conflict,” said conservation service officer Andrew Anaka. “Sometimes those are bears that are injured or sickly.”

Although late in coming, an abundant salmonberry season followed by an excellent blackberry crop made a difference in the number of bear reports in the fall, according to Anaka.

“Spring was a little late,” he said. “There was less food around immediately when the bears woke up, but as soon as the salmonberries came out things were really good.”

The abundance of salmonberries and blackberries helped reduce conflicts. The early fall conflict season was lower, according to the report.

Garbage continues to be the number one attractant for bears, followed by berries and fruit trees.

Incidents of injured deer were one of the biggest wildlife conflicts last year, according to Anaka. Deer accounted for 48 of the 287 reports.

“We noticed a remarkable increase in the number of reports of injured deers as a result of motor vehicle collisions in town,” he said.

Other species reported were cougars (24), racoons (six), grizzly bears (three), bobcats (two) and coyotes (one).