A local radio report in June 20 warned Revelstoke residents of a grizzly sighting in the industrial area at the end of Powerhouse Road yesterday.
A bear sighting isn’t usually newsworthy in Revelstoke, but we decided to find out if there was more to it — such as an aggressive bear.
Revelstoke Bear Aware coordinator Janette Vickers said she wasn’t aware of any fresh grizzly sightings. About two weeks ago, an adult grizzly was spotted a few times around upper Arrow Heights and also near the end of Illecillewaet Road. That bear wasn’t associated with any problematic incidents, though. It wasn’t raiding garbage cans or being aggressive.
Vickers did some follow-up today and traced the source of the story to a complaint call to city hall. That complaint was eventually relayed to the radio station. Apparently, the bear reporting protocol wasn’t followed. An incident like that wouldn’t normally be reported to the media.
Vickers said the identity of the caller wasn’t known, so it was impossible to verify the sighting. She said reports of grizzlies often turn out to be large adult black bears. At this point, it’s difficult to say if there was in fact a grizzly sighting, she told the Times Review.
Worried about bears on your favourite hiking path? Revelstoke Bear Aware launched a new bear sighting feature on their web page in May. It uses an interactive Google Earth map to show you when and where bears have been sighted, and any other info on the sighting. Visit www.revelstokebearaware.org to check it out.
In the meantime, Vickers reminds residents that it is bear season. Only put your garbage cans out in the morning on garbage day and keep garbage stored securely at all other times.
Sgt. Adam Christie of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said he’d responded to the sightings of the grizzly bear sightings in the Arrow Heights neighbourhood area in the past weeks by setting a trap for the bear.
“There has been no indication that this bear has been aggressive to people or accessed garbage or human food sources,” Christie said. “I just didn’t want it being in town.” If the bear started accessing garbage and getting habituated, it would lead to bigger problems.
He left the trap out for about six days and eventually caught a small black bear.
He opted to move the trap after about a week because it was likely the grizzly had moved on.
There haven’t been any more sightings since the ones two weeks ago.
The “bear season” in Revelstoke is partially affected by a number of natural conditions that can drive them into town, such as the state of wild berries.
How is it shaping up this year? “It’s hard to say because we’ve had a very unusual spring,” Christie said. He said the conditions had been “quite wet, quite late,” but it was too early to speculate on what effect that would have on the ground in Revelstoke.
“It’s unusual for us to have a grizzly bear in town, particularly in the early part of the year like this,” Christie noted.
Christie hasn’t destroyed any bears in Revelstoke this year.
Christie encouraged anyone who spots bears to call the wildlife emergency coordination centre at 1-877-952-7277. “Particularly a grizzly bear,” he said.
Trapping the bear early and relocating it gives the bear the best chance to live a normal, natural life in the wild, he said.
Note:This story was updated with additional information at about 5:15 p.m. on June 21.