Bear sightings regular occurrence

It’s nothing new so put your phones away and leave them alone

Signage warning about a bear on the loose in Port Hardy. (Photo by Tyson Whitney/North Island Gazette)

Signage warning about a bear on the loose in Port Hardy. (Photo by Tyson Whitney/North Island Gazette)

Newsflash: there are bears around.

This, of course, is nothing new. Bears have always been around.

But, like everything else, social media turns every bear sighting now into a circus. You don’t need to post photos on Chemainus Shoutouts or the other local Facebook pages every time you see a bear, unless there’s an immediate danger to the public.

In most cases, if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone and we’ll all get along fine.

It may seem like there are more bear sightings than usual, but there’s some good reasons for that. Humans, naturally, factor in all of them.

If you’re leaving garbage out around your house and live in a semi-secluded or rural area, it’s going to act as an attractant to bears. You need to lock up your garbage and bears will move on to find their usual food sources in the wilderness.

The second factor is habitat. More development on our surrounding hillsides and forests, in particular, is encroaching on the bears’ territory so you have to expect to see more bears in those situations.

Bears are common around the trails near Fuller Lake Arena at certain times of the year so everyone just needs to use caution if you encounter one in the vicinity.

There are many other locations around Chemainus, Crofton and Saltair where it’s common to find bears. Running up to them or trying to get closer to them to take a photo is never a good idea. Keep your distance and don’t provoke a bear by calling attention to yourself.

There’s a growing concern among the public that reporting bear sightings leads to them being euthanized when conservation officers are called in. According to protocol, that could very well be the case depending on the situation if officers determine the public could be at risk.

We’re hearing time and again how relocation away from human populations is not an option with most, if not all, bears. So the best thing to do is leave them alone, and they’ll go home dragging their tails behind them.

You can’t blame bears for getting riled up sometimes. With all those annoying phones around, would you want your picture taken all the time?