Local expert says bears are out looking to replace fat lost in the den

Learning how to ‘bear’ with the black bears in the South Okanagan

With the arrival of spring there are increasing numbers of black bear sightings and people are urged to be cautious. (Submitted photo)

Residents of the South Okanagan have seen no shortage of black bears in recent weeks — with many of the ones in the area stopping to snack on their property.

A black bear recently chowed down on rabbits in Summerland and a Peachland resident reported that one sat down for a meal on her porch the night of May 6.

Many a black bear have been spotted in neighbourhoods in Penticton as well.

READ MORE: Black bear dines at Summerland rabbit hutch

The recent sightings are not out of the ordinary, but may seem so because of the locations the sightings took place, explained Zoe Kirk, a public works projects coordinator with Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS).

READ MORE: Black bear helps himself to some dinner in Peachland woman’s garden

The bear downtown last week in front of the Penticton Courthouse likely wandered in from the Three Mile area, Kirk wrote in an email. It seemed, “a bit lost in the city.”

“All pictures I saw, he was moving pretty quickly – not loitering,” she said.

While bear sightings are common, she said this is a good opportunity to remind residents that Penticton and South Okanagan are also ‘bear country,’ and every year we usually get bears in or close to the downtown area.

“They are just out of the dens and looking to replace the fat they lost in the den, up to 30 per cent of their body weight.”

READ MORE: ‘Just strolling in front of our house’: Penticton residents spot black bears around town

“They require upwards of 4,000 calories a day, the average birdfeeder will supply that,” she wrote. “We advise residents that live in wildlife urban interface zones to remove seed holding birdfeeders now. Hummingbird feeders don’t seem to be as much a draw.”

“We also advise folks to keep garbage locked up until morning of pick-up or freeze really smelly foods and place in garbage can on the morning of pick-up.”

READ MORE: Wildlife experts urge caution as Okanagan bears wake up for spring

In addition, it is important to make sure all pet and livestock food is secure and in locking lid containers.

“Think outside your property boundaries, because if you are encouraging bears by housing attractants, you are also putting your neighbours at risk. “

For more tips on bear encounters, check out the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen website.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

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