WildsafeBC is reminding locals to mind their garbage and keep pets close because bear, coyote and raccoon sightings are up in urban areas this spring.
“Both Rossland and Trail have seen multiple bears this year already,” says Desiree Profili from WildsafeBC. “Other animals that have been reported recently are coyotes and raccoons, in both Rossland and Trail, deer in Trail on Rossland Avenue as well as a young moose being chased by two domestic dogs in downtown Rossland,” she added.
“So just a reminder, it is illegal for dogs to chase or injure wildlife.”
Sightings in Trail proliferate around bears and garbage in the Gulch, along Second Avenue in East Trail and in the vicinity of the Glenmerry townhouses.
She reminds Trail residents of the city’s two industrial garbage bins, one in Sunningdale and the other in Glenmerry – users are asked to pay $4 per bag, a money collection box is secured on the front of each bin.
“They are open 24/7 for public use,” Profili noted. “Please remember to control attractants by storing garbage, taking down bird feeders and putting electric fences around compost piles and in town, livestock.”
Reports of coyotes are also more frequent than last year.
Coyotes can be perilous because they are not solitary, generally where there is one, there are more.
“They hunt and live in packs,” explained Profili. “They will also use one pack member to try and draw your dog or other pets out of your yard or away from you, and then the whole pack will attack.”
Coyotes are carnivores and attracted to populated areas because of pets and livestock that are not housed at night.
“So please bring your pets in at night, walk with them on a leash and turn on electric fencing around livestock,” Profili said. “And if you encounter coyotes like other wildlife, well deployed bear spray is your best defence.”
She advises hikers and bikers to prepare for the back country by carrying bear spray, leashing dogs, and especially in cougar country, never wear ear buds when listening to music, because all wild animals can be aggressive especially when they are frightened.
Profili recently issued an advisory to Rossland following reports of a mother grizzly and her two yearling cubs frequenting Lower Rossland near the golf course and Wagon Road.
After investigating the incidents with a local grizzly expert and B.C. conservation, Profili clarified the bruin is thought to be a light brown-coloured black bear with two cubs, albeit the only way to 100 per cent verify as fact, would be the examination of claws.
No matter what type of bear, the mother is very protective of her cubs.
“She has already bluffed and huffed at a few bikers on the Wagon Road,” Profili warned. “And she is not afraid of humans.”
The three became habituated to human food sources last year and spent most of fall in fruit trees and wandering Rossland neighbourhoods getting into whatever they could find to eat.
Her maternal loop includes a path that runs along Wagon Road, up past the golf course into Lower Rossland, across the highway and back down through Pinewood Drive and the cemetery.
“So please control your attractants, take down bird feeders, store garbage inside, keep your pets on a leash,” she emphasized. “And if you are hiking or biking in and around the golf course, please make noise and do not ride with headphones in.”
Most importantly, do not approach the bears or get between the mother and her cubs.
If she does become aggressive or damages property or pets, Profili asks the public to call the conservation office 1.877.952.7277.