BC COS issues reminder to secure bear attractants

A young black bear in Clearwater. /SANDRA JAMES

By Abigail Popple, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

The BC Conservation Officer Service says it has not received any official reports of grizzly bear sightings from Valemount residents this year, but residents should be diligent about securing attractants to prevent food-conditioning of the bear.

Following grizzly bear sightings near Loseth road in early May, The Goat reached out to the COS to ask whether the bear poses a risk to Valemount residents.

According to COS, multiple Valemount-area grizzly bear sightings were reported last fall. These reports did not indicate food-conditioning or aggressive behavior, however.

“Grizzly bears should be reported to the RAPP Line (1-877-952-7277) if sightings are in an urban area, if the bear is accessing non-natural food sources, or conflict has occurred with the bear,” the statement says.

Once a report has been made, COS begins monitoring the situation, according to the statement. 

This can include conducting attractant patrols, issuing dangerous wildlife protection orders, and issuing fines to people who fail to secure attractants. Including details like size and colour in a report helps officers identify bears involved in human-animal conflicts.

“Community members must take measures to ensure all attractants such as garbage, bird feeders, barbeques, fruit trees, pet food, and any other scented item that could attract a bear are secured and made inaccessible to bears,” the statement reads. “With proper attractant management the community can prevent an escalation of human-wildlife conflict.”