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Hot weather means increased chance of bear conflict

CO Service reminds public to keep watch over open doors and windows ahead of sweltering June weekend
Some bears explore the Whistler Golf Course. Photo by Michael Allen

With a hot weekend just around the corner - temperatures are projected to climb above 30 degrees - the Conservation Officer Service is alerting the public to the potential of human-bear conflicts.

Hot weather means people are more likely to leave doors and windows open, said Simon Gravel of the Conservation Officer Service.

"Bears are looking for food at this time of year, and now they have a wide open door and they get into houses," Gravel said.

"It's a threshold that is hard to tolerate. Once a bear is in a house the risk to public safety is pretty high at this level."

Gravel said people should not leave any open entrances to their homes unmonitored over the weekend.

"So if you open your backdoor and you';re doing some work in your front grass, then it's a problem. You might come in your house and you could have an unwanted visitor," he said.

The public is asked to report any bear activity in or around their yards by calling 1-877-952-7277.

It's been a quiet start to the summer season for Conservation Officers in the area, though there have been some concerns with bears around the Whistler Golf Course, Gravel said.

"They've been approaching golfers to look at their lunch box, so we've been proactive and we drove our golf cart around and hazed the bear," Gravel said, adding that hazing means conditioning the bear to not hang around certain areas.

"We've been issuing tickets as well to some people and businesses that are keeping their garbage totes unlocked or leaving garbage outside on their balcony," Gravel said.

"We've been very proactive in the past few weeks to avoid conflicts. So far so good, but we're crossing our fingers."