Bears spotted in Esquimalt, View Royal on Friday

Bears spotted in Esquimalt, View Royal on Friday
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Community members are warning of two bear sightings in Greater Victoria on Friday.

Royal Roads University issued a wildlife alert on Friday saying there was a bear sighting on campus near Charlie’s Trail.

Community members also reported seeing a young black bear at Esquimalt Gorge Park on the same day.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says it received a report of the black bear sighting on Friday morning, but has received no additional calls since then.

Conservation officers continue to watch for bear activity, said BCCOS spokesperson David Karn.

“With fall upon us, it is more important than ever to ensure attractants are secured to prevent bears from lingering and creating conflicts in communities,” he said in a statement Saturday.

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The two sightings come as the B.C. Conservation Officer Service warns of a dramatic increase in human-bear encounters.

Bear encounters nearly doubled this summer, from approximately 3,550 in August 2022 to roughly 6,000 in August 2023.

Conservation officers say there could be several reasons for why more human-bear encounters are happening this year, including an increase in both human and bear populations in the province.

But, Len Butler, BCCOS dep. chief for provincial operations, thinks the main factor is weather.

“I think a lot of the areas, drought has impacted those berry crops and natural food sources, so where do the bears go? They unfortunately come into the urban areas which always have a lot of non-natural attractants,” he told CHEK News on Wednesday.

On Friday, Royal Roads encouraged walkers to use caution while on trails, walk with a buddy, keep dogs on a leash and follow signs in the area.

RELATED STORY: Saanich police warn of bear near Jasmine Ave. after multiple sightings 

With files from CHEK’s Mackenzie Read

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