It may be early but the conservation officer service is warning the public to stay vigilant after a grizzly bear was found accessing garbage on January 22. The COS isn’t releasing the location, but says it happened between Bella Coola and Hagensborg.
“It’s a good reminder for people to be vigilant about securing their attractants,” said Conservation Officer Hana Anderson. “It’s unexpected given the time of year but it does happen.”
Anderson said that it was a lone, adult grizzly bear and that it is now being monitored via wildlife cameras set up at the area. The bear hasn’t been seen again but there was fresh sign near the same area recently, leading Anderson to believe the bear still hasn’t returned to its den.
“We don’t know why it’s left the den, it could be health or the den could have been flooded out by snow melt,” Anderson explained. “Bears aren’t true hibernators, so they do wake up.”
It is a common misconception that bears hibernate during the winter. While bears tend to slow down during the winter, they are not true hibernators. Black bears, grizzly bears and brown bears do go into a deep sleep during the winter months, known as torpor. This isn’t the same as hibernation in that bears wake up quickly and easily while in torpor, whereas in hibernation waking up is a much slower process.
“One of the other problems is that if they access a high value food source out of the den it becomes harder for them to go back,” said Anderson. “We’re hoping it makes its way back to the den before it comes near people.”
Anderson is requesting that anyone who sights the bear to call in and report it right away. The toll free number is 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). For tips on securing attractants visit wildsafebc.com