Wakey Wakey: Hungry black bears waking up in B.C.

It’s that time of year again. Our furry friend black bear is waking from hibernation and is wandering forests and maybe even backyards. There have already been a few sightings this season in throughout the province of B.C, officials said the 120,000 and 160,000 black bears that live here should emerge within the next few weeks after four months in their winter dens — and they’ll be extra hungry.

While we’re all staying safe at home these days, many people are getting outside get get some fresh air. As we venture outdoors there are bound to be some animal encounters this spring.

After waking from winter hibernation, black bears are prone to venture into residential neighbourhoods from April to November in search of food. Bears, and other hungry wild animals, are often attracted by improperly stored garbage.

Image by 272447 from Pixabay

Ways to reduce unnecessary conflicts with wildlife

Though sightings of black bears are not uncommon in parts of North and West Vancouver, encounters are rare. If you do come in contact with a bear, it’s important to remain calm, and give the animal space.

The City of North Vancouver website emphasizes that managing attractants is the best way to lessen the chances of having a negative interaction with hungry wildlife. Measures like putting garbage out in the morning instead of the night before or making bird feeders less accessible to bears helps ensure they move on.

In recent years, a number of shocking videos have surfaced on social media, showing incidents of people feeding, or getting too close to black bears and their cubs. These videos have popped up on Instagram and Facebook.

Once a bear is conditioned to receiving food from humans, the potential of negative interactions increases, according to WildSafeBC.

Feeding bears, or any other dangerous wildlife is a criminal offence under the Wildlife Act. This offence carries a fine of $230.

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