file photo (Alaska State Troopers | Courtesy Photo)

Wildlife experts urge caution as Okanagan bears wake up for spring

Bears are awaking from their hibernation

Bears are coming out of their dens and into the open.

Safety will be key for both humans and bears going into the spring and summer months. Signs have been posted around Peachland warning residents to proceed with caution on trails and paths.

Vanessa Isnardy, provincial WildSafeBC coordinator said that bears take the path of least resistance and enjoy trails almost as much as humans do.

“If you do see a bear stop, stay calm and back out of the area slowly and let that bear have some space,” said Isnardy.

Also refrain from taking photographs, the zoom on cellphones can lower the quality of the photo and tempts people to move closer toward the bear(s).

READ MORE: BC SPCA looking at Okanagan for wildlife rehab centre

READ MORE: B.C. wildlife group seeks help after pregnant moose fatally hit by car

“Even if it looks like an animal is not interested in you it can make them nervous,” said Isnardy. “If you care about wildlife its best to not take a photo.”

Isnardy also recommends that cyclists carry bear spray on their person instead of on their bicycle in case they hit a bear and become separated from their bike.

“It’s better to be prepared then wishing you were,” she said.

If hiking alone it is best to make noise such as singing or whistling to alert wildlife of your presence. Isnardy said that wildlife has a tendency to stay away from humans and the noise that hikers make will keep them at bay.

WildSafeBC has an up to date map to stay informed on the latest sightings at warp.wildsafebc.com/warp/ if there is an altercation with wildlife contact a conservation officer immediately.

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