It may still be early in the year, but bears are already on the prowl in the Greater Trail area.
WildSafeBC provincial coordinator Frank Ritcey, says there was a sighting just last week in Fruitvale and the warm weather may have something to do with it, but not in the way you might think.
“With it being so warm out, there are a lot of people that are out and about and there is a lot more opportunity for bears to be disturbed from their dens,” he said, adding that higher than average temperatures alone won’t wake a bear.
“Warm weather itself isn’t necessarily a trigger for bears to come out of hibernation. There are a lot of physiological factors going on. One of them is the fat stores from last year need to run out.”
Even though it is still winter on the calendar, Ritcey says if a bear does wake up from its slumber, it will be on the hunt for food.
“There is just no food for them in the wild right now,” he said. “They just have carrion (animal carcasses), bird feeders or garbage. Taking down the bird feeders at this time of year is a good idea and start watching that garbage.”
If a bear is sighted meandering around town, Ritcey says it doesn’t necessarily mean they are out of hibernation. Going for a stroll is just part of the process.
“What happens when they are in this phase of hibernation, is they can go into a walking hibernation,” he said. “They will get up, go for a short walk, go back to the den and sleep some more. They wake up very quickly, which is amazing for that animal. They get up and they move around.”
For a realtime look at mapped out animal sightings reported to WildSafeBC, visit www.wildsafebc.com/warp.