While there have been more bear sightings than usual in Saskatchewan this year, Prince Albert conservation officer Sgt. Casey Howey expects there to be less in weeks to come.
About 43,000 black bears reside in Saskatchewan. There have been over 600 bear-related issues reported to the ministry of environment since April, including two incidents in Stanley Mission, Sask., this week.
On Sunday night, a black bear found its way into a home.
“The bear pushed in a portable air conditioning machine through a screen door, so conservation officers immediately set up a bear trap near where the bear was last seen,” Howey said.
One person was injured trying to escape from the home.
Hours later, there was another bear sighting. Alison Mcleod and her 8-year-old daughter woke up to a loud bang. She then saw a bear knock over a garbage bin.
Security tried scaring it away, but it continued to come back to the same neighbourhood. The bear was euthanized and it’s not known if it was the same bear that broke into a home earlier.
Howey said it’s a last resort to euthanize an animal and it’s only done when safety is an issue. They can’t be relocated once they’re in an area with people because they are intelligent enough to find their way back.
Bears have been finding their way into communities more than usual because the berry crop is late this year.
“We had a later spring and the weather’s quite a bit cooler, so that plays into factors that have created bears to be a little more active searching for food,” Howey explained.
There are some precautionary measures you can take if you live in an area with bears nearby.
Garbage should be left inside until the morning of pickup, and food and barbeques should be properly stored.
If you’re camping, go in groups and make noise.
Black bears don’t typically attack people, but if one does, you shouldn’t play dead.
“Black bears are generally pretty curious creatures so what they recommend is that you stay calm, number one, keep your distance and don’t try to shrink yourself,” Cabela’s senior lead Brandon Horrell said.
If you see a bear where it shouldn’t be, call the ministry of environment tipline at 1-800-667-7561 so conservation officers can respond.