A bear that camped out in a tree off Matterson Road, directly across the street from Ucluelet Secondary School, on Thursday afternoon should serve as an important reminder for locals to keep their attractants locked up and out of sight from wildlife, according to the B.C. Conservation officer Service.
“It is concerning that the bear was out during the middle of the day. That means its become habituated to people and, from our understanding, it’s continuing to get into garbage,” Conservation Officer Daniel Eichstadter told the Westerly News.
Ucluelet police and Conservation Officers closed off the area around noon while waiting for the roughly 90-kilogram black bear to come down from the tree, which it did around 1 p.m.
“Given the time of day and the location, it was not a safe situation for that bear to be in that tree so what we did at that point was remove all of the human stressors from the area, so that bear was able to relax and come out,” Eichstadter said. “As soon as the bear came out of the tree, we blocked traffic so that it would have an opportunity to get into some green space and then we basically followed it just to watch how it behaved with humans and made sure it didn’t go further into the school ground.”
Eichstadter said no traps have been set for the bear and that it should make its way back to the woods without incident as long as locals secure all their attractants and make it feel unwelcome in town.
“It’s extremely important to secure our garbage so that bears don’t have a reason to hang out in town,” he said. “Giving it a negative interaction with humans: using air-horns, yelling at it, making it not feel like it’s comfortable being around humans, reinforces that natural shyness of people. It may feel like you’re being mean to the animal, but you’re doing the best thing for that animal.”
He added local bears are currently going through hyperphagia, which means they’re trying to score as many calories as they can to fatten up before winter’s hibernation cycle and that the COS has received recent reports of bears getting into garbage in Ucluelet.
He asks anyone who spots a bear to report it to 1-877-952-7277.
“It’s important to report all the sightings and interactions with bears in town to the RAPP line so that we, as officers, are able to monitor what’s happening in town and respond appropriately for public safety,” he said. “You are my eyes on the ground. You’re letting me know what’s happening in the community.”
Sgt. Steve Mancinci of the Ucluelet RCMP said securing attractants and reporting sightings can help keep bears safe.
“We want them to be able to move on and not get comfortable in town,” he said. “When they get comfortable in town, eating the garbage et cetera, it doesn’t normally end well for them and nobody wants to see that.”