An intruder was caught red-handed sniffing around a South Island home Sunday night, but it’s not the kind of bandit you might expect.
Surveillance footage shows a black bear investigating the entrance way of a Langford home before sauntering off into the darkness.
Homeowner Linda Brown didn’t wake up when the bear poked around her Ravensview house at approximately 4:35 a.m., but when her husband found their garbage can tipped over and rifled through Monday morning, she decided to check the video surveillance to see if they might catch a glimpse of the culprit.
“Sure enough, there was the bear right at the front door,” she said. “It seemed quite comfortable. It walked right up to the front door and then kind of slowly walked away. It didn’t seem fearful at all.”
This isn’t the first time Brown’s house has had a visit from a furry trespasser.
Her garbage can was ripped through a few months ago and large, muddy foot prints indicated a bear was to blame.
Brown isn’t concerned for her own safety but sent an email to neighbours warning them to watch their dogs and kids.
BC Conservation Officer Peter Pauwels agrees that bears in the area are more a nuisance than a threat.
“The risk is pretty low… but we can’t predict with certainty what they’re going to do and if somebody was to get between a bear and a source of food, there could be a problem,” he said. “Or sometimes people’s pets will antagonize a bear and that can be dangerous for the pet.”
So why isn’t the bear hibernating? The simple answer: It would rather eat.
“It’s not that unusual to see a bear out of hibernation this time of year,” said Pauwels. “We get a few every year that are delayed going to the den or they’ll come out early, or in some cases it seems that they don’t go into the den at all.
“If there’s a ready food source available, sometimes that will influence their behaviour…”
Pauwels said bear sightings have been increasing in areas they don’t typically forage such as Langford, Colwood and Metchosin.
He said that might be because there is more unsecured garbage for bears to pick through.
“Now that it’s done that once, it’s probably going to come back looking for more,” Pauwels said of the bear that visited Brown’s home. “That’s probably a pattern of behaviour that’s existed for some time. If we want to deal with the problem and get the bear to go to the den, the first step is to secure garbage and that means everybody in the neighbourhood.”
“I don’t blame people cause it’s not something they have had to consider in the past, but we are seeing more bears in areas where they haven’t been in the past,” he added. “So people need to be aware that if there’s a bear in your neighbourhood, you’re legally obliged to secure your garbage and prevent the bear from accessing it.”