Bear sightings up in Metchosin, experts say humans partially to blame

Bear sightings up in Metchosin, experts say humans partially to blame
WatchA bear and two cubs seen in Metchosin.

Bears on the prowl in woods Metchosin is a sight that residents are becoming accustomed to.

“It’s been a bit more frequently. The mom and cubs have been seen quite a bit,” said Marsha Cole.

Cole has lived in Metchosin for nearly a decade. Bear sightings aren’t new for her but this year has been different.

Multiple images and videos have surfaced of bears in different parts of the Barrow Road/Kangaroo Road neighbourhood. A Facebook post detailed a bear raiding a hen house and killing a chicken and over the weekend a dog was injured in an altercation with a bear.

But Cole says if residents take a more proactive approach, there’s nothing to fear.

“You should be scaring the bear away with an air horn or pots and pans, just to get them going in the opposite direction,” Cole said.

Bear sightings have been a regular occurrence over the past three weeks in different parts of Greater Victoria. On June 1, a bear was euthanized by a conservation officer in Langford. Wildlife advocates say it’s not a bear issue, it’s a human issue.

“We really dictate their behaviour. If we leave garbage out, if we leave livestock out that’s unsecured then it just brings the wildlife in, and it’s basically a free for all, said Sam Webb of Wild Wise, a wildlife advocacy group that helps improve the human-animal relationship.

With livestock being more prevalent in Metchosin, the necessary steps, such as putting in an electric fence, must be taken by owners to ensure that both their animals and the bears stay alive.

“It’s very important, mostly for the bears because they’re going to be the ones that get euthanized by conservation officers if they get too habituated,” said Cole, who has an array of different animals on her property.

Experts also recommend getting rid of bird feeders and keeping garbage and recycling inside.

Ben NesbitBen Nesbit

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