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Bear complaints up this year

Bear complaints up this year

The conservation service says they have dealt with a large increase in bear complaints this year compared to last.

Black bear related calls have doubled according to officer Chris Doyle. Province-wide 8,900 black bears incidents have been reported since April first compared to 4,900 last year to date.

Doyle says a large number of these incidents are preventable. When bears become habituated to humans and food sources, problems arise. Doyle says people have to keep up on handling attractants like fruit from trees and household garbage. Doyle says this year has been especially bad due to a lack of natural food for the bear. Colder, wetter weather delayed the ripening of some foods and that drew more bears into populated areas.

Another aspect conservation officers have to deal with is a change to provincial regulation. Officers are no longer allowed to relocate nuisance bears a long distance from where the problems arise relocating a bear was a last resort and only two bears have been removed to another location since April 2017. Relocation isn’t seen as a successful way to deal with problem bears because in most cases they find there way back to there they were removed from and sometimes the animals just don’t survive in their new locations.

The conservation service is using other means to deter bear like rubber bullets, electric shock and foul tasting chemicals . But if these tactic don’t work, officers could then kill the animal which is allowed under wildlife regulations, but Doyle stresses this is a last resort.

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