Residents asked to secure garbage and other food sources after bear sighting in Fort St. John

A mother bear and three cubs were spotted near the Humpty's restaurant in Fort St. John this morning. Google Street View photo.

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John area residents are being asked to take precautions after a mother black bear and three cubs were spotted in Fort St. John this morning.

Moose FM received word of the sighting near the Humpty’s Restaurant along the Alaska Highway this morning at around 7:15. Micah Kneller with the BC Conservation Officer Service says that officials also received the report of the bear sighting from a concern resident in the city’s west side in roughly the same area. Kneller says that while a bear sighting in that area, or near the Fish Creek trails is not uncommon, it does raise some concern about both public safety and the well-being of the animals. Kneller says that conservation officers spoke with the residents and instructed them to remove any potential food sources for the bears. He says that bears will typically vacate an urban area if there is no chance for the animals to get easy access to food, citing unsecured garbage bins, dirty barbeques, produce stored outside, and fallen or rotting fruit from trees as the most common sources.

Kneller says that the public needs to be aware that the best defence against bear intrusions is to eliminate any attractants for the animals. He adds that once a bear has developed the learned behaviour of scavenging human-sourced food, that behaviour is incredibly diffcult to unlearn. Due to the frequency of relocated bears returning to cause more problems, the only tool that officers usually have to rely on at that point is to destroy the animal in question, adding that “it’s the hardest part in our job and the worst thing we have to do in our job. None of us like to have to euthanize bears.”

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