Bears entering homes ‘not unusual’ according to behaviour expert


Saturday morning was eventful enough when a mom and two bears cubs entered a rural Nanaimo home through a pet door and then spent close to an hour inside the home before Molly the dog alerted owners Jacqueline and Michael Kellam.

But the furry trio returned again Sunday morning looking for a repeat visit.

“When I first woke up and went into our ensuite bathroom I noticed, through a bedroom window that our truck door was wide open and I was like ‘oh my gosh now we’ve had a thief coming around,'” said Michael Kellam.

The door to three of their vehicles were wide open and other neighbours’ cars had been hit as well.

But a check of their security cameras soon showed that it was not a person at all. Instead, it was the same three bears and they even tried to get back into the house through the now-barricaded pet door.

“You know, living in bear country we just look out the window at the size of the bears, look at the size of our pets and the size of the pet door and you just do the math and think there’s no way, there’s now way they’d even try to get through there. But apparently there is,” added Kellam.


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But a bear behaviour expert says it’s more common than you might think.

“Oh yeah, bears accessing homes through openings, that is something that can happen,” said Ellie Lamb, Get Bear Smart Society bear behaviour expert and 26-year bear guide.

She says female bears with cubs are looking for safety as much as food and the pet door might have looked like something other than an entrance to food the first time, then food was found which is probably why they returned Sunday.

“You know a small opening like that, it’s a den thing too. They move cubs around in and out of dens all the time so it wouldn’t surprise me if she’s kind of thinking like that when she’s moving across the area,” added Lamb.

The BC Conservation Officer Service has set a bear trap near the Kellam home and Lamb disagrees with what the outcome could be for the bears if they’re caught.

However she says it is really up to people to discourage bears from getting so close to our homes in the first place, pointing to solutions like electric fences and electric unwelcome mats which can be quite effective as seen in the below video.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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