A young black bear has been sighted around Nicholson, prompting the Conservation Office to remind residents to secure their garbage and pick ripe fruit from trees to avoid attracting wildlife.
“Unfortunately bears at this time of year are looking as man calories as they can before hibernation, and they’ll do so by accessing the easiest possible food source, which unfortunately is typically a human food source,” said Alex Desjardins, the conservation officer for the Columbia-Kootenay zone.
“The problem with that is that it can take only one introduction to human food source for a bear to become habituated; once that happens, it can escalate to aggressive behaviour and injuries to humans.”
Desjardins says that he’s been receiving calls about the bear over the last week or two, while Orlando Pecora, a resident of Nicholson, says that the bear has been paying visits to his neighbourhood for about a month now.
Pecora says that the bear has been known to sample the fruit from his garden, and that just recently it made it’s presence now by leaning on his dining room window, before proceeding to the glass patio door and pressing it’s paws against it.
He says that the bear jumped down and made it’s way to a tree when disturbed, before crossing his property and the highway.
Desjardins says that the bear was easily spooked at first, but reports are saying the bear has been standing his ground more recently.
“It’s concerning that this is now escalating,” said Desjardins.
“We do have a matrix we adhere to when it comes to human wildlife conflict and management and if the bear gets to far up, we have to take action and unfortunately that’s often the destruction of the bear.”
Desjardins explained that translocation is not a feasible option, especially around this time of year, as the bear will have trouble establishing a den before winter, or could be predated upon by a bigger bear, or would simply return back to Nicholson.
He said that in order for this to be prevented, the onus is on the residents of Nicholson to limit attractants by securing garbage and picking fruit when ripe. WildSafe BC has a program to help limit attractants and dispose of fruit.
“Take this seriously instead of taking photos and knocking pots and pans, that way the bear has a decent chance at denning succesfully and not getting into conflict.”
In case of human/wildlife conflict, call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.