Bear essentials for spring

Warm weather, robins and daffodils all herald the arrival of spring but groundhogs aren’t the only creatures coming out of their holes right now. Springtime signals the end of hibernation for bears and a marked increase in their activity.

  • Jan. 27, 2011 5:00 p.m.

Warm weather, robins and daffodils all herald the arrival of spring but groundhogs aren’t the only creatures coming out of their holes right now. Springtime signals the end of hibernation for bears and a marked increase in their activity.

Upon waking and exiting its den, a bear’s body mass is significantly lower than when it entered hibernation in the winter, but not as low as you may think. During hibernation bears do not eat or drink, nor do they pass any wastes. Their heart rate drops dramatically and kidney function stops all- together. Muscle and fat provide sustenance while waste by-products are recycled into new protein – hence why bears are not emaciated when they emerge.

However, this is not to say that they are not hungry! In the wild, bears will seek winter-killed carrion and new shoots on spring plants. Unfortunately, they will also follow their noses to particularly tempting urban areas. This is a crucial time of year to deter and prevent bears from becoming conditioned to non-natural food sources. One accessible garbage can, bird feeder, barbecue etc. could spell continued problems for the rest of the year for humans and bears alike.

Consideration must also be taken for future generations of bears. Females will most likely be exiting their dens with cubs that will be learning all of their mother’s behaviours and habits including where and how to forage for food. These young bears will learn quickly and natural, wild behaviour is the goal rather than generations of “urban food-conditioned bears”. It takes a village to raise a child, and this situation is no different. We all carry a responsibility to ensure healthy, wild populations of bears for years to come.

Proactive measures now will be reflected in fewer human-bear conflicts in the months ahead including reduced property damage, increase to public safety and a decrease in the destruction of bears. These measures include but are not limited to properly managing attractants on your property, reporting neighbourhood bear sightings to the Conservation Officer Service, alerting your neighbours to bear activity and maintaining a healthy attitude that these are wild animals that deserve our respect.

To report any wildlife-human interactions where public safety may be at risk, call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).

Information provided by Bear Smart BC Society. For more information on the Ministry of Environment Bear Smart Community Program or the Bear Smart BC Society call: Crystal McMillan at 250-650-9653.

Just Posted

Distracted Driver crashes into ditch along Byng Road

Port Hardy public works department confirms the incident was caused by distracted driving.

Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign needs volunteers in Port Hardy

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign is starting up on Nov. 29… Continue reading

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

UPDATE: North Island highway crash resulting in serious injuries still under investigation

The two drivers were seriously injured and sent to a hospital in Victoria.

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas votes in favour of eliminating overtime pay for confidential secretary

“I think when staff makes a recommendation I have to support staff’s recommendation.”

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Most Read