A bear was sighted in the Hillcrest area on May 22. (Candace Godber/Facebook)

UPDATE: Residents asked to manage attractants after bear sighting at school

Conservation Officer says people need to change behaviours to avoid destruction of bears

UPDATE: May 23, 2 p.m.

Salmon Arm residents are being asked to keep their garbage and other bear attractants out of reach following a black bear sighting at Hillcrest Elementary on Wednesday.

Signs were up around the school Thursday morning, May 23, warning that a sow and cub were sighted in the vicinity.

The previous day, the school had posted a notice to their website stating the bear was seen in the area at approximately 4 p.m. The post acknowledged that bears, cougars and other wild animals often move into some Salmon Arm neighbourhoods this time of year.

A witness reported seeing garbage strewn about by a nearby residence.

Tanner Beck, Conservation Officer for the North Okanagan zone, says it is the public’s responsibility to make sure attractants are not within easy reach.

“This includes securing garbage where it will be inaccessible until the morning of garbage day, removing bird seed and securing any other food items,” said Beck. “Also, once fruit starts to ripen, pick it as soon as possible and do not let it drop and rot.”

Beck noted that although the bear was sighted near the school, that doesn’t mean the animal will be destroyed.

“The bear’s behaviour is what is assessed, and if the bear is habituated to non-natural food, or is fearless or aggressive towards people, unfortunately they are destroyed,” said Beck. “The only thing that can change is our own behaviour. If people make an effort to prevent conflicts it will stop the destruction of bears.”

Original story

Posts on social media indicate a black bear was spotted near Hillcrest Elementary.

One photo posted to Facebook shows the bear in the schoolyard while another shows it walking down a street near the school.

A post on the school’s website states that the bear was sighted after school was out at approximately 4 p.m. The post acknowledges that bears, cougars and other wild animals often move into some Salmon Arm neighbourhoods this time of year.

Read More: Salmon Arm skater captains national champion Junior A hockey squad

Read More: VIDEO: Fire damaged Salmon Arm 7-Eleven demolished

“We all need to be prepared, should we come across a wild animal. Bear and Cougar attacks are uncommon, but precautions should still be taken,” the post reads.

The post also contains precautions suggested by WildSafeBC for children walking to and from school.

Suggestions include: walking in groups of three or more while making a lot of noise, carrying any food sealed up in a lunch kit and backpack, remaining alert and using sidewalks along roads rather than shortcuts through forested areas.

If a bear or cougar is encountered children are advised to make themselves as large as possible and back away slowly while speaking in a loud low voice if the animal continues to approach. WildSafeBC recommends avoiding sudden movements like running away.

Read More: Support sought for family of mother who died at Shuswap campground

Read More: Multiple black bear sightings in residential area near Okanagan elementary

Any wild animal sightings near Hillcrest should be reported to the school.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo reminds Salmon Arm resident of connection to former drama teacher Justin Trudeau

Prime minister remembered as being as a funny, larger-than-life person

Dining moose a welcome distraction at Salmon Arm campus

Pair feast on willows, unperturbed by onlookers at Okanagan College

Woman convicted in Salmon Arm love triangle murder granted escorted temporary absences

Monica Sikorski was 17 when she plotted shooting death of 22-year-old Tyler Myers

Shuswap’s water rescue crew preparing for frigid temperatures

New training follows Dec. 9 mission to help a man suffering health problems at remote cabin

Shuswap outdoor skating rinks open to public

Rinks in Celista and Silver Creek ready for outdoor fun

Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

‘Lift for Wills’ community fundraiser to support Penticton boy fighting cancer

This Sunday, stop by World Gym Penticton for by-donation drop-in classes, a silent auction, more.

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Princeton – a Prince Town in waiting?

The Town of Princeton has been waiting 160 years for a Royal… Continue reading

Group builds shelters for Vernon’s stray cats

Twenty insulated cat shelters were constructed by volunteers and delivered around town

UBCO partners with Boeing to test new anti-ice coating technology

The coating could one day be applied to all airplanes to prevent ice buildup

Revelstoke already double last year’s snowfall

The city is just below halfway to the snowiest winter on record

True Stories: Okanagan memoir-writers, reading

Reading with local North Okanagan writers Art Dalton, Patti Shales Lefkos, Raven Dahl, Janelle Hardy

Most Read