Taya Johnson

Taya Johnson

Bear breaks into Glenmerry home

Bear activity at all time high, says local WildSafeBC coordinator

A Glenmerry resident is feeling violated after a burglar entered his home and took what he was after freely.

But his wasn’t a typical thief, instead a big hungry bruin.

Dean Johnson was relieved to see that no damage was done to the back entrance of his home Tuesday night when a bear pushed his way into his shed, which is sectioned off from the rest of his house, in search of the trash bin.

But he is still left feeling uneasy over the boldness of the intruder.

“If the bear comes back looking again, and I’ve heard they’ve been out in the middle of the day, the kids could be in the backyard anytime of the day,” he said.

“They (bears) have found a food source, whether it’s locked up or not, and they’re going to stick around because that’s what they know.”

Sharon Wieder, Rossland /Trail WildSafeBC community coordinator, said bear activity is very high in local urban areas right now.

“The natural food such as berries came early and are drying up with the lack of rain,” she said. “As long as these bears can access food in town, they will stay until the snow arrives—that is several months of dealing with bears that will become more aggressive as well as defensive of their food source.”

The local conservation office is concerned about three bears that have moved into Glenmerry and don’t seem to be leaving, she added. The bears are attracted by the abundant fruit on domestic trees and by garbage.

There are at least 15 to 20 bears of concern in Rossland and Trail, many of which are adult bears travelling together and oddly are not family units.

Rossland residents recently shared their concerns online via Bhubble after Mayor Kathy Moore posted on her Facebook page that four bears were killed in lower Rossland on Wednesday.

Rossland News reporter Chelsea Novak wrote that Sgt. Tobe Sprado from the conservation office confirmed that the bears—two adult males and two adults females—were destroyed.

“Unfortunately the neighbours of the residence that attracted the bears didn’t alert anyone early when the bears first arrived,” explained Wieder. “People were also too willing to let the bears eat fruit and sleep at vacant homes.”

The bears are entering their “hyperphagia stage,” where they need to consume up to 20,000 calories per day, so it’s easy to see why they would hang around the overladen fruit trees. Wieder confirms that bears will move on if they have nothing to eat.

“Cubs will learn from their mothers that people food (including fruit trees) is a great source of calories and since bears can live up to 20 years in the wild, that is a long time to be chasing bears out of your fruit trees,” she said.

What’s most troubling for Johnson is that he managed his garbage yet he still had a visit from an uninvited guest.

“If I had left my garbage out for it to freely grab, my fault, but when I do my due diligence to keep it out of the way and closed up and it’s not stopping him, then what’s to stop him from entering my back sliding door when I’m cooking? That’s a concern.”

Residents are encouraged to visit the WildSafeBC Rossland/Trail Facebook page for details on a community picking and pressing event this weekend, as well as a comparison chart on bear activity for the last three years.