Bears seeking food in backyards

Poor weather and lack of food cited as reason

  • Jul. 20, 2011 8:00 a.m.

The small bear cub was spotted by Phoebe Dunbar along West Coast Road.

Sooke resident Darla Banner’s father was having a barbecue at his house on Church Road when an uninvited guest showed up — a hungry black bear.

He saw the animal from about 10 feet away sniffing at the food when a neighbour’s dog ran over and “gave the bear a nip” that caused the black bear to raise its front legs before retreating.

A couple of days later, a neighbour witnessed a sow and her cubs in the yard, knocking over a part of the fence. Another neighbour on Talc Road saw a bear climbing into their yard as well, she said.

“Jesus, they can’t all be the same bear!”

Banner said she hears people spotting bears at Whiffin Spit on a daily basis, and that they’re addicted to garbage. In particular, by the Stone Ridge estates development on Beaton Road where bears are “getting garbage even though they’re putting it away.”

“I phoned to talk to the conservation officer on Wednesday, and have heard nothing back,” said Banner.

Conservation Officer Rick Dekelver confirmed that calls about bear sightings are up in Sooke over this same time last year, with an increase of about 50 incidents.

“It’s been busy,” said Dekelver, who speculated it could be due to increasing population and summer weather arriving later.

He insisted that the best thing to do in these situations is still to call the conservation hotline, (1-877-952-7277) even if it takes awhile to hear back from an officer.

“We have two of us for the lower Island from Renfrew to Cobble Hill, so this is happening not just in Sooke.”

Despite the limited resources, Dekelver said the call centre filters the messages received in priority sequence and officers will contact residents to work out a management plan.

Some residents have taken matters into their own hands — for instance, locals around the Stone Ridge area has been knocking door to door distributing brochures on things like how to minimize attractants.

“People bought into it and the garbage disappeared and I haven’t seen any reports of bears in the area, said Dekelver. “The bears (seem to be) going elsewhere to try to find food because there was nothing in the area they were acquiring.”

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Check out the bells and whistles added to Westhills Stadium

Rick Stiebel/News Staff Clusters of tradespeople buzzing around busy with last-minute preparations… Continue reading

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Police find shoes, backpack of the man found dead in Saanich

Officers credit public’s help, continue to seek information

Ravens Crossing breaks ground on happy Hygge cohousing project

Speeches, music and a blessing as 80 people attend start of Danish-style development

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Most Read