North Okanagan-Shuswap residents are urged to secure their garbage to keep bears away. (photo submitted)

Bear sightings begin

After a relatively quiet summer, bears are making their presence known again.

Conservation officers have started receiving calls about bears from residents in the North Okanagan-Shuswap.

“We’re expecting it to be a busy fall,” said Tanner Beck, officer.

Reports have come from Blind Bay, Silver Star and Vernon’s Bella Vista neighbourhood.

Beck isn’t surprised that bears are being spotted more as the evening temperature cools off.

“They need to survive through winter hibernation so they need to build up fat. They are completely food driven right now,” said Beck.

And the animals are not selective when it comes to what they eat.

Residents are urged to use bear-proof trash containers or keep garbage secured in the house or shed until pickup day.

Pick ripe and fallen fruit daily and remove any unused fruit trees.

Clean the barbecue grill after each use and bring pet food dishes inside.

One thing that should be removed is bird feeders.

“There’s a lot of calories in bird seed and a bear will go from one feeder to the next,” said Beck.

“At this time of the year, birds don’t need seed as there are lots of natural sources.”

Beck isn’t aware of any conflicts between people and bears yet, but if you see a bear, remain calm and keep away from the animal.

If a potential conflict occurs, residents can call the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

To learn how to reduce bear conflicts, go to www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/human-wildlife-conflict/staying-safe-around-wildlife/bears

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