Along with tourists from all over the world and deer, bears are finding Penticton a congenial place to visit.
On Saturday morning, a bear was spotted ambling around the Burns Street area, south of Wade Avenue and not far from the Penticton Creek corridor.
According to WildSafe B.C.’s Wildlife alert reporting program, there were also three bear sightings in the downtown Penticton area 11 days ago.
“Seeing a spike in bear activity in the valley bottom is normal at this time of year. They are taking advantage of fruit ripening and feeding on windfall fruits,” said Sgt. Jim Beck B.C. Conservation Officer with the South Okanagan zone. “What we don’t want is them getting into garbage. They are more active in the night so when we start getting bears wandering around neighbourhoods it is an indication that they are getting at insecurely stored garbage or not their traditional food sources, which leads them down the wrong path. A good reminder to the public is to be careful with food attractants. For sure none of us want to shoot bears but if it becomes a public safety concern then generally the bear loses.”
Wildlife that threatens public safety should be reported at 1-877-952-7277.
According to WildSafe B.C. black bears are the smallest of the three bears found in North America, and are driven by an insatiable appetite, mainly because of their need to put on about 30 per cent of their post-hibernation body weight to make it through the next winter’s sleep. Bears have been sighted recently in Naramata, Westbench Summerland and Oliver.
To discourage bears from visiting, WildSafe recommends keeping your garbage in or secured until the day of collection. Garbage is the number one attractant cited in reports to the provincial hotline.
They also recommend managing backyard fruit trees, not letting windfalls accumulate and picking fruit as it ripens. Bears also see bird feeders as a nice source for a snack — A kilo of bird seed has approximately 8,000 calories and is a great reward for a hungry bear.
For more information on being bear aware, visit the wildlife safety page maintained by the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen at rdos.bc.ca/departments/public-works/wildsafe-bc-bear-aware or WildSafe B.C. at wildsafebc.com.