Hungry bear being a nuisance in Port Renfrew

Freezers and fridges containing food attracting bears to homes

  • Nov. 9, 2011 6:00 p.m.

A smarter-than-your-average-bear has been a problem for dwellers of the Botanical RV resort in Port Renfrew over the past couple of weeks.

The animal forcefully found its way inside four storage sheds and also got into a couple of refrigerators, which is what resident Bertha Gravelle thinks attracted it to the area in the first place.

“A gentleman had a fridge on his porch, which is a no-no, and he tossed it off the deck,” said Gravelle, adding the man has had it happen to him before.

One of the sheds was storing apples that the bear helped itself to after breaking in.

“He literally ripped the boards right off the side, there was a two-foot square hole in it.”

After the owner repaired the damage, the bear went for a repeat performance and scored itself some Thai noodles. The other sheds were either empty or contained non-food items like camping equipment.

This wasn’t Gravelle’s first bear encounter — last year one tried to pry open one of the windows on her travel trailer when she wasn’t home. She suspects the recent culprit is the cub of the mother who used to wander through the area. There have also been bear sightings in the past on the nearby beach where there are two fish cleaning stations.

Conservation Officer Rick DeKelver made his way to the site after hearing about the incident to set a trap for the hungry visitor. Once caught, its fate is still to be determined.

“We’ll assess health, look at the totality of the circumstances, all the behaviour that’s been displayed up till now,” said DeKelver. The options are either relocation, or destruction if its behaviour is beyond reversible.

At the time of the interview, a baited five-foot tall culvert trap with cages welded to both sides had already been set up right inside the resort for a few days with no results. He said some bears are more intelligent than others, perhaps having a previous encounter with traps or witnessing a family member getting caught, and may continue their aggressive behaviour while avoiding capture.

“(We’ll leave it up) maybe a week or a little more. It’s dependent if people are seeing it.”

Bears are habitual creatures and may have a certain route they travel. While on that route, they may not be drawn to the bait, he said.

DeKelver added having freezers and fridges containing food out in the open is “not acceptable practice in what we consider bear country.” While it’s hard to make something completely bear proof, people should ensure at least basic precautions are taken.

Incidents have been lower lately due to the natural food source of fish in the streams returning to spawn. Sightings will likely continue into December until most bears hibernate for about three months.

“Some don’t hibernate if they are familiar with non-natural attractants like garbage. Some become aware they can access a food source year round.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read