Wild Wise Sooke is urging the public to be bear aware. (Photo by Brian Rundle)

Wild Wise Sooke is urging the public to be bear aware. (Photo by Brian Rundle)

Wild Wise Sooke reminds public to be aware of bears

Residents asked to be mindful of their garbage habits, not to draw in wildlife

Sleepy bears are waking up from long winter naps, and Wild Wise Sooke is urging the residents to be aware of our furry neighbours.

Communities in Greater Victoria are asked to be particularly mindful of their garbage disposal habits, as this is one of the most prominent bear attractants.

Sam Webb, president of Wild Wise Sooke, said there have been about seven reports of bear sightings in the Sooke and West Shore regions so far this year, but she is concerned because many of the reports have pertained to bears snooping for a garbage snack.

“That is worrying. This time of year, bears are just starting to wake up, and it usually takes them a while to discover garbage,” said Webb. “But some have woken up and went straight to neighbourhoods where they have found it in the past.”

Webb said the best ways residents can prevent bears from getting into their garbage, is to store their trash in a shed or garage until the morning of pick-up, or better yet, have “bear resistant” dumpsters. These can be purchased through Alpine.

“Doing these precautionary things is about protecting the animals, and so that they don’t become a threat to the community,” said Webb. “If you run into a bear in the wild, its behaviour might be a lot different than one who is habituated. A bear might be a lot more defensive over their garbage snack.”

READ ALSO: Spotted a whale? Here’s what to do

Bird feeders tend to draw bears into people’s yards, so Webb recommends not leaving them out during bear season. She added that cleaning your barbecue regularly, and keeping pets on leashes or inside are also precautions to avoid unpleasant interactions with bears.

“If you are out hiking, keep your pets on a leash. If you have small children, keep them close to you,” said Webb. “We also recommend hiking in a group or as a pair, so you are less likely to surprise a bear. If you are solo hiking, talking to yourself out loud is recommended so wildlife can hear you coming.”

Webb reminds hikers to always be prepared and carry bear spray, or to put ‘googly eyes’ on the back of your hat or helmet if you are out alone, so if a predator is following behind, it will less likely mistake you for prey.

So far this year, there has not been any negative interactions with wildlife, and Wild Wise volunteers want to keep it that way. They are offering educational resources through the organization’s Facebook page.

“Wildlife always pays the price for our bad judgment. We want to prevent anything from happening in the first place and keep not only the community safe, but animals as well,” said Webb. “People seem to be more aware of the wildlife here, and of their own behaviour. We hope to keep that going, and expand our reach to more people.”

Wild Wise Sooke is looking for volunteers in Langford. For more information on bear awareness or to volunteer, please visit wildwisesooke.com.

READ ALSO: After 4 months of rehab, Vancouver Island swan released


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

bears

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors in July 2021. (Malahat SkyWalk photo)
Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors this July

Highly anticipated attraction will take guests 250m above sea level

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police circulated photo of alleged cat thief actually woman with her own cat

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Allayah Yoli Thomas had recently turned 12 years old when she died of a suspected drug overdose April 15. (Courtesy of Adriana Londono)
Suspected overdose death of Saanich girl, 12, speaks to lack of supports, says mom

Allayah Yoli Thomas was found dead by her friend the morning of April 15

Illegal goods seized in the simultaneous April 23 busts in Saanich and Sooke. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
RCMP drug busts net trucks, cocaine, cash and Hells Angels gear

Simultaneous searches coordinated between West Shore, Saanich and Sooke police

The Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre on Wilkinson Road in Saanich. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police watchdog investigates after man found unresponsive at Saanich jail

Man was in Victoria police custody the day before being found

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread continues with 694 new cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

(File)
With revenge porn on the rise in 2021, B.C. seeks feedback for new legislation

New legislation could help victims take down images and receive compensation

Port Alberni RCMP are investigating a homicide on Third Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
RCMP investigating homicide in Port Alberni apartment

Investigators are still trying to determine the identity of the deceased

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hospital investigating whether Alberta woman who died after AstraZeneca shot was turned away

Woman was taken off life support 12 days after getting vaccine

Most Read