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Hibernating bear keeping cozy underneath Salmon Arm residence

Conservation Officer Service has set a trap and is waiting for sleeping bear to emerge

A bear has been quietly residing among residents of a Salmon Arm mobile home park.

B.C. Conservation Officer Eric Tyukodi believes a black bear continues to hibernate underneath one of the trailer units at the Evergreen Mobile Home Park on 10th Avenue NE.

The sleepy bruin was recently discovered while in the process of emerging from hibernation. Tyukodi said a call about the animal was received via the RAPP line (Report all Poachers and Polluters) around 6 p.m. on Friday, March 31. He said a resident of the mobile home park was driving through it with their granddaughter, who spotted the bear in a hole beneath one of the homes.

“She said, ‘Oh look, it’s a bear,” and the grandparents didn’t believe her but they drove back around and, sure enough, there was a black bear, with its head and its forelegs sticking out of a hole underneath one of the trailers,” said Tyukodi.

“I attended and, sure enough, there was a hole where the bear had been,” said Tyukodi. “They showed me a photo with the bear and its legs from underneath the trailer. Nobody else had heard it or seen it.

“I waited to see if it would come out and it didn’t. My colleague came up from Vernon. We set a bear trap to try and capture it because we don’t really want it staying underneath there. But no one has heard it or seen it since.”

Tyukodi doesn’t think the bear went away, but instead returned beneath the trailer and into hibernation.

“That night it was kind of raining and while I was there it kind of turned into that sleet/snow mix,” said Tyukodi. “So what I think happened is somehow it woke up from hibernation and it felt the change in the temperature and went back to sleep. That would explain why we haven’t caught it yet and also why no one has seen it yet.”

As of Friday, April 7, the trap will have been in place a week.

Tyukodi explained it’s not unusual for bears to hibernate in human structures.

“I used to work in Chilliwack. I came here after working down there for three years and, yes, they will hibernate under sheds, they’ll hibernate under steps to a house, any place they can find that’s warm and safe,” said Tyukodi. “Generally they’re away from people. But, yes, they absolutely can hibernate under a habited structure.

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“Certainly not anything the person living in the trailer believed they’d find.”

Tyukodi said there’s currently no concern for public safety.

“It’s not doing anything, it’s underneath the trailer,” said Tyukodi. “We just want to make sure everybody is safe and the bear is safe. We don’t want a bear sticking around a trailer park where it could potentially get cornered by somebody or whatever – that’s why the trap is there.”

Tyukodi said neighbours have been made aware of the bear’s presence and are on the lookout and know to call the RAPP line.

“The general messaging is to ensure that garbage is kept inside, pets are kept on leash, things like that.”

Tyukodi stressed that garbage is the single biggest attractant for bears, and asked that people keep their garbage in a secure location and only put it out on collection day.

“We ask anybody if they’re having issues with bears getting into garbage, or if they’re having bears coming to any other attractants, to please call the RAPP line,” said Tyukodi.
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