A black bear targets a bird feeder by the Rotary Trail along the Vedder River in Chilliwack on Oct. 7, 2020. (William Snow/Contributed)

A black bear targets a bird feeder by the Rotary Trail along the Vedder River in Chilliwack on Oct. 7, 2020. (William Snow/Contributed)

Bear alert issued for West Kelowna neighbourhood

WildSafeBC is asking residents to manage attractants to avoid human-bear conflicts

WildSafeBC Central Okanagan has issued a bear alert after one was spotted in a West Kelowna neighbourhood.

The alert was issued for Rose Valley on Wednesday (May 5) and coordinator Meg Bjordal said it remains in effect.

“Rose Valley, because it’s an interface neighbourhood, it’s a hot activity area for bears,” she said.

“There are a lot of attractants as a result of people living there, but there are also nearby bear habitats, so it’s not a surprise that bears are spotted in the area or that there are bear conflicts in these neighbourhoods.”

With the recent bear activity, Bjordal said it’s important for residents to be diligent about attractants on their properties.

“Common attractants on properties include garbage, bird feeders, and even compost, fertilizers and barbecue grills.”

“Bears have a fantastic sense of smell, and they are also curious. So anything that has an odour and anything possibly edible will be an attractant to them,” she said.

Bjordal added that if it attracts bears, it will also attract rats and if residents manage their attractants, it will manage both bears and unwanted rodent issues. Managing attractants can actually ward off two issues, which she said she hopes will help people stay vigilant.

“Please do your part in keeping bears and your neighbourhoods safe,” Bjordal said.

“The reason it’s critical to manage attractants is that once bears have access to them, they’ll keep coming back. They’ll become food-conditioned and once that happens, not only will they go through your garbage, they’ll go through your neighbours’ too, which can cause a human safety issue.

“If they become habituated to humans, that could be a threat and conservation officers won’t have another choice other than to destroy the bear.”

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Wildlife