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WildSafeBC urging bear safety as animals awaken from hibernation

Bears are beginning to awaken from hibernation, and WildSafeBC is urging residents to be ready for animals searching for easy meals.

WildSafeBC communications coordinator Gabriela De Romeri said bear sightings have been reported earlier in the year than usual.

“We think that’s based on the mild winter temperatures,” said Romeri. “Sometimes, if these bears come out too early, before their first natural food sources, they risk entering into urban areas to search for animal attractants.”

Attractants could include garbage, outdoor pet or bird food, livestock and fruit trees.

“It’s super important to make sure you’re securing your garbage properly. Indoors is best, if possible,” explained Romeri. “You can also use a bear-resistant bin. Even if you’re using that, you need to make sure it’s secured, so bears can’t carry it off.”

Wildfires can also be a factor in bear sightings within communities.

“When large areas of what would typically be an abundant food source is burned, then they have to disperse and search elsewhere for food,” said Romeri. “That can often lead them to urban centres as well.”

Romeri said it’s important to be prepared if you head out into the wilderness.

“The best thing to do is stop, stay calm and never turn and run away – that could trigger their predatory instinct. Instead, you should slowly back up, speak softly with a deep voice, and yield to the bear,” said Romeri. “If it’s safe to do so, please carry bear spray and be familiar with how to use it.”

You can find other bear safety tips on WildSafeBC’s website.

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