The BC Conservation Officer Service is investigating two cases of people feeding bears so far this spring.
Both incidents happened along the Sunshine Coast, BC Conservation Service deputy chief Chris Doyle told reporters during a conference call Thursday.
May was one of the busiest months in eight years for reported bear conflicts in B.C., due to a dry season forcing bears to turn to urban areas in their hunt for food, Doyle said.
More than 3,800 calls have been placed to B.C.’s RAPP line for black bear conflicts since April. That’s compared to the seasonal average of 2,400.
A further 180 calls were for grizzly bear conflicts. Doyle said calls include a mix of far-away bear sightings and, more commonly, bears breaking into garbage cans or killing livestock.
He added that there have been no bear attacks on humans this year, which are generally uncommon.
Doyle emphasized the need to keep garbage secure in order to minimize any attraction for bears venturing into neighbourhoods. He also urged people to get rid of molding fruit from trees in their backyards, as well as take down bird feeders.
Feeding bears is hazardous to people and bears, which may come onto roads looking for food or become aggressive, and is an offence under B.C.’s Wildlife Act. Penalties can be as high as $100,000 in fines and one year in prison.
To report a wildlife sighting, call B.C.’s RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.