The bears in the Bulkley Valley are waking up.
And conservation officer Flint Knibbs said they are going to be hungry.
“As the bears emerge from hibernation, one of their first activities is to start eating to replace all the body reserves they lost over winter,” he said.
He wants to remind residents to deter the bears from coming into urban settings. Knibbs said common food sources are bird seed from feeders and household garbage. He advises people put away the bird feeders for the summer and clean up any seed spillage. Garbage and compost must be securely stored in a location that wildlife can’t get into. BBQs can also be an attractant for bears. It is an offence under the Wildlife Act to have attractants accessible to dangerous wildlife and also to feed them.
If you come across a bear, Knibbs said, the best thing to do is make your presence known.
“Best thing to do is be aware of your surroundings so you’ll see the bear with as much lead time as possible and second to that is to give it as much space as possible. If you are walking on a trail, head the other direction or give it a wide berth. Never approach it or any wildlife for that matter.”
Knibbs said spring is also a good time to think about fruit trees. Ripe fruit is a major attractant for bears in town. The Conservation Office suggests pruning trees to allow for the best access to picking the ripe fruit. They also want people to think about removing the trees if their fruit doesn’t get picked any longer.