The Prince George-Omineca Region was a hot spot for bear sightings this summer.
According to Prince George-based Conservation Officer Eamon McArthur, Conservation Officers in Prince George received 3,957 calls for service between August 1st and September 30th.
He added they may crest at 1,000 in that time period.
“Quite frankly it’s been absolutely unheard of in past years, just the level of calls for response we’ve had this year.”
The increase in calls for service was seen across the province as well, as in August and September, Conservation Officers province wide saw 11,360 calls for black bears, as well as 401 calls for grizzly bears.
McArthur added a total of 73 bears were euthanized in Prince George by Conservation Officers and others, including RCMP from January to the end of September.
Province-wide, 545 black bears and 26 grizzly bears were destroyed in that time.
McArthur said he can’t speak to the science of why bears made their way into Prince George.
“I can say on our end, it’s definitely been a heavy influence in the level of garbage being left out, just poor attractant management including fruit trees,” he explained.
“We’ve been working with city bylaws and RCMP in hopes to try and curb this in future years, but we’re still moving forward on opportunities in that front.”
“We just want to make people aware that just because there’s a bear in the immediate area, it’s not immediately a public safety incident,” he continued.
“The majority of the calls we’re dealing with as Conservation Officers is related to public safety. If there’s a public safety concern, that’s where we’re going to be focusing our attention.”
McArthur added he’s hoping to see bear resistant garbage bins return to the city.
According to city officials, eight percent of the carts experienced latch failures, on top of the unpredictability of frozen mechanisms.
The project was scrapped, but groups like the Northern Bear Awareness Society are still calling on the City of Prince George to implement bear resistant carts.
–With files from Brendan Pawliw, My Prince George Now