Black bears will likely be making more of an appearance in Sooke this fall.

Education key to preventing wildlife encounters

There have been 42 black bear complaints since April, compared to 102 in the same period last year.

It’s been a wild summer in Sooke.

A cougar peeping through windows in Sooke recently left some Whiffin Spit residents on edge.

But conservation officers say that while there have been some high-profile animal encounters this summer, there have been fewer complaints.

There have been 42 black bear complaints since April, compared to 102 in the same period last year. Fifteen cougar complaints have been investigated.

“We’re having less problems with wildlife,” said conservation officer Peter Pauwels, adding a major factor for less bear calls this year has been the abundance of natural food sources in the wild, such as berries.

Just because it’s been a good year doesn’t mean it’s going to continue, and people need to watch out in the next couple of weeks as that food supply dries out.

This is why September and October are always the busiest months, Pauwels said, adding that people should start being more vigilant with their fruit and garbage.

“Locking up garbage, getting the fruit off the trees as soon as it’s ripe, or even before, because bears know where those trees are from last year, and they will be back,” he said.

Cougars, unlike bears, are hunters, not scavengers, meaning they’ll prey on unsecured livestock such as sheep, goats, chickens, and as well as pets, such as house cats.

One slips through the cracks every now and then, such as the cougar that lurked around Whiffen Spit last week.

The cougar is believed to be the same animal captured, tagged and relocated from the Florence Lake area last spring.

“There are very few that get ear tagged and released, so there’s only two possibilities which one it is,” Pauwels said.

Still, a cougar sighting is rare and unusual.

Pauwels pointed out a rumour in another Sooke news outlets stating that an ear-tagged cougar has been seen in the Whiffin Spit area for years is “absolutely untrue.”

If captured, the cougar, a two-year-old male, will not be relocated again.

“We’re only allowed to do that once. With the behavior it’s displaying now, it wouldn’t be a candidate anyway because it’s showing unusual behaviour. It’s walking up to houses, looking in windows. It’s not afraid of people,” Pauwels said.

“Relocation can work in certain situations, but if you have an animal that’s habituated to people, that prefers to live around people, if you take it up in the bush, it’s going to come back.”

Pauwels said the cougar seen in Whiffin Spit is not acting aggressively towards people, but that doesn’t make it less of a concern, either.

“It has no fear of people, so it’s going to live amongst us. That makes it a concern because if somebody was to see it and do the wrong thing like run away, it could actually trigger an attack.”

Sooke also had a brief visit from a wolf earlier in the summer, though Pauwels said there’s been no sightings of the animal since.

 

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Bulk or boxed candy? Trick-or-treat maps help Canadian families prepare for Halloween

Census Mapper uses 2016 census data to predict busiest neighbourhoods

Black Press Media celebrates women who are making a difference

Helping others is the cornerstone of the work Shannon Drew does in… Continue reading

Goldstream Food Bank on the search to fill Christmas Hampers with toys

Volunteers are looking for new toys for infants to 11-year-olds

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read