After bear destroys garden shed, Langford resident ‘fearful’ to step outside

After bear destroys garden shed, Langford resident 'fearful' to step outside
CHEK

A Langford resident says their fears of stepping outside their home due to a roaming bear in the area are now heightened after the animal badly damaged their garden shed.

The security video, captured around 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Westhills, shows the black bear clawing at and ripping down wood before climbing up the shed door.

Watch the report below:

The resident, who did not want to be named, tells CHEK News they emailed in the video to “alert” others to what unexpectedly happened in their backyard.

A wildlife expert says it’s likely a habit for the bear.

“That particular shed actually looked like it was nice and secure. He was working at it,” said Derek Downes, a care supervisor with the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association.

“I would wager that the bear has had success going into a rather dilapidated shed that wasn’t so secure and getting feed from there, and it learned that was a viable option.”

‘Bear B&Es’ are common: expert

Dan LeGrandeur, a retired conservation officer who now owns Bear Scare, says such incidents, which he calls “bear B&Es,” are “fairly common” in parts of B.C. and Alberta as they search for food.

They’re looking for calories,” said Downes. “This bear didn’t look to be in particularly good shape.”

The person who sent in the video says they’ve made “multiple calls (to officials) and no support has been provided…we’re told they can not do anything.”

They’re hoping the footage will catch the attention of conservation officers to relocate the bear. They say they’ve made “all efforts” to keep no attractants around their home, which is something wildlife experts stress.

“CRD (Capital Regional District) has provided bear clips for the bins, but I think we are passed that stage now,” they said.

“We have made all efforts to keep no bear attractants around, but it has become comfortable in the neighbourhood, making it fearful to step outside.”

Pleas to the public to help reduce conflicts with bears are nothing new.

“It may seem like people in the rehab world or conservation officers are a broken record, but it’s because it really does make a big difference,” said Downes.

“Obviously securing your garbage is the number one thing to do. But even small things like cleaning off your barbeques, making sure pets are not fed outside and livestock feed is secure…I advise against putting meat or fish scraps into outdoor compost.”

String of bear sightings

The Langford incident comes about a week after conservation officers tranquillized a male black bear roaming the Saanich Peninsula. The officers said it would be relocated.

Earlier this month, a bear was captured on video ambling around a Brentwood Bay driveway.

According to WildSafeBC, which aims to reduce human-wildlife conflict, black bears account for 14,000 to 25,000 calls per year to the Conservation Officer Service (COS).

It says most of the province is considered “bear country,” so people are urged to stay calm, keep away, and, if possible, go inside when spotting one.

Downes also recommends one way to “spook” a bear if it comes too close.

“Sometimes blasting an air horn at them can give them a significant spook. Again, black bears are naturally timid by nature, they’re not out there looking for confrontation,” he said.

Westhills is a relatively new community, with homes being built there since 2008.

“We’ve gone so far into taking bear habitat. The whole Island is bear habitat. We can absolutely live together harmoniously. The bears certainly aren’t trying to get into trouble,” added Downes.

“They’re just trying to survive, really.”

CHEK News reached out to the COS for comment about the Langford incident.

Aggressive bears or sightings in urban areas can be reported to conservation officers at 1-877-952-7277.

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