West Kelowna neighbourhood with bear trap seeing more wildlife since wildfires

Click to play video: 'Bear interactions skyrocket in B.C.'
Bear interactions skyrocket in B.C.
WATCH: In B.C., bear sightings are skyrocketing. The province’s conservation officers say they received twice as many calls about bear encounters this summer, compared to what they typically see. As Paul Johnson reports, the situation is leading to an alarming spike in bears being put down – Oct 1, 2023

Residents of a West Kelowna, B.C., neighbourhood have noticed more wildlife visiting their homes since wildfires ravaged the nearby area.

The Rose Valley neighbourhood of West Kelowna was one of the hardest hit when the McDougall Creek wildfire swept through, causing widespread damage.

These days conditions are much calmer, with the fire being held, but resident Pam Danyluk said nearby destruction has increased the traffic from their four-legged visitors day and night.

Mostly, she said, deer come through the yards, munching on plants and vegetables.

Click to play video: 'Bear-human contacts 100% above average this summer'
Bear-human contacts 100% above average this summer

That is “understandable” because of the destruction to their regular habitat, but sometimes it’s something a little more daunting.  One area resident reported that cougar and bear sightings are becoming the norm — so much so that the BC Conservation Office set up a bear trap on one residential street.

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“Just the other night … (a bear) started over there and came across over here and actually woke us up with a bunch of raucous (behaviour),” Danyluk said.

With it being so close to homes, residents felt the trap was the only solution.

“Anytime there are bears in our neighbourhood, my perception is that the bears are going after garbage,” said Paul Hergott, an area resident.

“And when bears are going after garbage, we should probably move them out of the neighbourhod. So, if there is a bear in the neighbourhood, a bear trap to get them out of here sounds like a good idea.”

Click to play video: 'Alberta trail guide says food shortage may lead to bear aggression'
Alberta trail guide says food shortage may lead to bear aggression

The BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) said calls regarding bears have gone up 100 per cent this past summer.

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While officials said it’s a good sign that the bear population is doing well, these interactions are leading to a large number of bears being killed.

“When these bears get to a point that the food conditioning (and) the threat to the public is too high, we have to do our job and we will do our job,” Len Butler said, BC Conservation Officer Service’s deputy chief.

More than 150 black bears have been killed by BCCOS officers so far in 2023. In August, they got more than 6,000 black bear-related calls from across the province.

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