Garbage is a known attractant for bears, as are bird feeders, fruit trees, barbecues, and pet food. Black Press file phto

Bears making themselves at home in Princeton town limits

Princeton residents have reported eight bear sightings within town limits in the past three weeks, according to WildSafe B.C.’s Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WRAP.)

“This isn’t early to have bears in the community,” said councillor Barb Gould.

“If we all do our part and keep the food away from them, the bears will move on. They are tenacious though and may come back a few times to areas where food is easy to get at.”

Last month, Princeton council passed a new wildlife attractant bylaw that sets out 21 chargeable offenses and up to $10,000 worth of fines for offenders.

The legislation prohibits feeding wildlife and mandates specific requirements for property care.

It says fruit and nut trees may not be left untended, and fruit that falls to the ground must be removed within three days.

Also, bird feeders must be inaccessible to wildlife, and the area below them must be kept clear.

Composters, bee hives and chicken coops must be maintained in such a way as to not attract wildlife.

Refuse must be inaccessible to wildlife, and trash for pick up may not be placed at the curbside before 5 a.m. on the day of collection.

Tickets issued for garbage violations in Summerland

Last year, the Conservation Officer Service office received 102 calls for service from Princeton and two bears were euthanized.

The previous year there were 71 calls for service and four bears were destroyed.

“I like to see the increase for calls to service but less bears destroyed is a positive as well,” said Gould.

“Many people think that if they call in to report the bears it will automatically be destroyed. It could also be that there are more bears in town. That does concern me.”

The town also recently enacted its seasonal WildSafe BC community coordinator program.

Four bears trapped in Princeton and destroyed

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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