Conservation officers are dealing with a flurry of calls about bears in the city as they continue to monitor a bear family moving through North Kamloops, with the clan last spotted on Tuesday morning along Schubert Drive.
The band of bruins were on McArthur Island on Monday afternoon, prompting the city to temporary close the popular recreation spot.
The sow bear and her two cubs were spotted on Tuesday morning sleeping in trees along the Rivers Trail near Schubert Drive and Nelson Avenue, Kamloops conservation officer Rob Armstrong told KTW.
Two conservation officer and two bylaw officers responded at about 10:15 a.m. and cordoned off the area with signs and barricades.
Armstrong said they are trying to give the bears space so they will move out of town on their own.
“Any other action for us to take, if we were to try and tranquilize them or move them, it’s extremely stressful on the animals,” Armstrong said.
By 3:40 p.m., the three bears had moved toward Chestnut Avenue, near Arthur Hatton elementary, according to the city’s bylaws service.
Armstrong is advising members of the public to stay out of the areas the bears are roaming through, noting there were many people who stopped to look at the bears along the Rivers Trail on Tuesday.
He said giving the bears space will allow the sow to feel safe enough to attempt to move through town, but if there are too many people in the area, the mother bear could feel threatened and charge.
“As soon as we were able to cordon the area off and everybody left, it was only a matter of minutes before that sow came back down the tree and kept moving,” Armstrong said.
So far, there have been no reports of the bears accessing garbage and the Conservation Officer Service is asking residents to ensure they manage their attractants.
“There’s been no defensive behaviour, there’s been no habituation that I’m aware of at this point,” Armstrong said, adding the bears will likely have to be put down if they become habituated to human food sources.
Simply relocating the bears doesn’t typically work as habituated bears will either starve or return to the non-natural food source, Armstrong said.
Residents can manage attractants by picking fruit off their trees and refraining from leaving garbage out at night.
These bears, however, aren’t the only bruins conservation officers are dealing with in Kamloops.
Armstrong said he received eight other reports on Tuesday regarding the animals in various areas of the city, preceded by another eight calls on Monday — noting some are likely for the same bears.
“There’s probably a bear in every community in town right now,” Armstrong said, noting the number of calls is normal for this time of year.
Recent reports have come from across the Kamloops area, including Juniper Ridge, Knutsford, Dallas, Campbell Creek, Westsyde, the Tk’emlups reserve, Brocklehurst and North Kamloops.
“They’re around, so there’s never a more important time than right now for people to keep their attractants secure,” Armstrong said.
While there have been no reported injuries, he said there have been some calls of bears charging at people. Last weekend, a bear in Dallas had to be destroyed after ripping open a tent and eating some food stored within it.
“The people were not in the tent when the bear went in to it,” Armstrong said, noting leaving food in the tent showed a lack of due diligence.
People can check wildsafebc.com for helpful information on how to manage their attractants to ensure bears packing on the pounds for hibernation don’t become habituated to non-natural food sources and a threat to the public.