Rainy spring weather appears to have kept the bruins at bay as the Conservation Officer Service reports responding to fewer than the average number of bear complaints in Kamloops so far this year.
The service has been called out fewer than 100 times due to problem bears, conservation officer Graydon Bruce told KTW, adding they have recently been attending about one bear complaint per week in Kamloops. When it is busy, officers are dealing with one bear call per day.
“That could change tomorrow,” Bruce said, noting the service is attributing the relatively low numbers to the amount of rain Kamloops has been experiencing this past spring and early summer.
Bruce said the precipitation has kept the region greener for longer, leaving more natural food for bears, which haven’t had to venture into town to and seek out riskier sources.
“When there’s more food available, they don’t need as big of a space, so they might not be pushing each other off of territories,” he said.
The primary complaint this year has been bruins accessing garbage or the feed in bird feeders.
Bruce said bird feeders shouldn’t be used until the winter months, when bears are hibernating, adding birds already have enough natural food sources at this time of year, Bruce noted bird feed can also attract rodents.
With call volumes low, the Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents that now is the time to ensure they don’t allow fruit trees to ripen to the point that food is falling to the ground, as that is another common attractant for bears.
The service encourages people to call 1-877-952-7277 as soon as they notice a bear accessing an attractant on their property. That, Bruce said, will ensure the best chance the animal will not have to be euthanized.
Bruce said the service is not releasing the number of bears that have had to be euthanized to date, with that data generally compiled and released later in the year.
In 2019, between April 1 and Sept. 30, the BC Conservation Officer Service received 306 calls in Kamloops regarding bears, responded to 44 of them and euthanized eight animals. During those same six months in 2018, conservation officers put down eight bears in the Kamloops area, while attending to 27 of 134 calls received.