Conservation officer Don Strahl with two sedated bear cubs that needed relocating after their mother was illegally killed. Submitted

As nature blossoms around Hope, it’s time to spring into being bear aware

Founder of Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee says now is the time to be vigilant

Upon waking from a long, restful sleep, it’s important to kick-start the metabolism with some breakfast: but imagine the hunger after having been asleep for months, and how enticing just about any morsel of food would be.

“It’s spring time and our black bears have woken up and have just started to become active (in their hunt for food),” said Lydia Koot, founder of the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee (HMBBC).

Combine that with the recent waste disposal issues within the District of Hope, and Koot says without the extra vigilance of community members, hungry bears may be drawn into town limits by the sweet scent of rotting refuse.

“This isn’t a criticism of the District,” Koot continued, “it’s just about the transition of new garbage pick-up” and how to manage our waste during this time of contractor flux because of its ability to attract bears.

It can be “especially (bad) when they’ve just come out of hibernation (and) the only thing there is for them to eat is grass because there are very little food options,” said Sergeant Don Strahl, the conservation officer in charge of the Fraser Valley area all the way from White Rock to Boston Bar.

“This is why we all need to be vigilant with our garbage,” Koot said. Bears who get used to eating garbage and return for it can be dangerous. “And they get shot for it, and bears shouldn’t be shot.”

Luckily, says Koot, who established the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee in 2011, a bear hasn’t been shot in Hope for the past six years.

“Hope has gotten so much better because the residents and District are working together,” continued Koot.

And to keep it that way, Koot is asking the community to be “really aware and mindful” of not only their properties, but areas around town.

“If you see a full garbage, call the District to have it cleaned up. We’ve called about this one and they’re on they way, but we know they’re busy,” she said while standing next to a bear-proof garbage can that was propped open with overflowing garbage.

“A fed bear is a dead bear,” said Strahl, “so we need to (rely on) the abundance of nature to (keep) bears away from town (because) the main thing they want to do during the summer is get fat for winter. That’s why there’s a huge emphasis on keeping (areas free from) attractants.”

The best ways to help do this says Koot is to wait until the morning of pick-up to put out your garbage, rather than putting it out the night before, and bringing it in if it’s not been picked up. It’s also wise to never store garbage bins against a house, and to pick fruit in the summer and fall when it ripens.

In Abbotsford, “bird feeders in the backyard is the number one attractant,” Strahl added. “It’s a huge amount of energy and it’s basically like hanging a jar of peanut butter (outside).

“Feed birds in the winter, not the summer, as that’s when they need it anyways,” and the bears will be sleeping.

But even with our best efforts, bears will sometimes wander into populated areas. If you spot a bear in the wild, says Koot, stay back, however, if you spot one in town, let the HMBBC know so they can take the next steps.

“Lydia’s done awesome (in the area for bear conservation),” Strahl said. “She’s been a real life-saver for us in the area. But if people do have a persistent black bear that keeps hanging around, they can call (us) and let us know.”

“We always call Lydia,” said Mayor Peter Robb. “Unless it’s a dangerous situation, then we call the RCMP first.

“But (the organization’s been) a big help, and they’ve done well (educating the public).”

For more information about how to be bear aware, or the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee, visit HopeMountain.org, or email Lydia Koot at lkoot@hopemountain.org.

The B.C. Conservation Services can be reached 24-hours a day at 877-952-7277.


 

@SarahGawdin on Twitter
SarahGawdin on Instagram
Sarah.Gawdin@HopeStandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

Popular retired UFV therapy dog passes away

Mac the Therapy Dog consoled countless students and staff, as well as wildfire victims

Imagination Library Fraser Valley celebrating Christmas in July

Dolly Parton early literacy intiative looking for financial support to help with waitlist

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

Vancouver double homicide leads to arrest in Harrison Hot Springs Wednesday

VPD and RCMP tracked dumped vehicle connected to killings to Chilliwack

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Four-vehicle collision snarls eastbound highway traffic in Fraser Valley

Collision west of Lickman Road on Highway 1 includes three vehicles plus motorcycle

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read