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'They had to chase the bear out of the house': B.C. conservation issues warning after 3 reports of bears entering homes

Vancouver -

After getting multiple reports of bears entering homes in a 24-hour period, B.C.'s conservation officers are warning locals to be cautious when keeping doors open amid the heat wave.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service said Saturday that it had received three reports of bears entering homes in Coquitlam, North Vancouver and West Vancouver. Sgt. Simon Gravel, with the BC Conservation Officer Service's Sea to Sky zone, said these reports are common during heat waves and in the first hot weekends of summer.

"Obviously with that heat it's very difficult for you to keep your door locked and closed. We totally understand that ventilation is needed, but what we're really asking the public to do is monitor any open access to your house if you live in bear country," Gravel said.

“I think everyone's mind into that is a bit of a survival mode here, we're trying to cope with that heat … but we don't want to forget about bears."

Gravel said in the most recent incidents, one bear entered through an open door. The other two went through screen doors.

"In one case I can confirm 100 per cent that the resident was home, actually they had to chase the bear out of the house,” he said, saying in another instance he assumes residents were home because the police were called immediately.

"Unfortunately a bear in your kitchen is a very hazardous situation. I don't recommend that at all.”

Gravel said bears are food seekers and have a very good sense of smell.

"If they walk by your residence and they smell anything around your house they will be attracted,” he said.

"So if there's peanut butter or a loaf of bread on your counter and the bear is close by it's likely to try to investigate that smell and if the door is open and it's an easy step, it's very likely that it's going to enter the house.”

The problem, Gravel said, is that when a bear gets a reward like food off a kitchen counter, it's very likely to return.

That's what we're really concerned about," he said. "That's why we try to avoid it to happen in the first place.”

In some cases, conservation officers will lay a trap to capture and relocate the bear. But during the heat wave, that hasn’t been possible.

“With that heat we had to remove our traps,” Gravel said. “It would not be humane to try to trap bears - all of our traps are made of steel - with that extreme heat it’s not a tool we can use.”

Even so, Gravel said officers are keeping a close eye on the situation and are asking anyone who sees a bear to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1-877-952-7277. Top Stories

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