Bear season officially began for some residents in the area north of the Victoria General Hospital when they spotted a black bear in their backyard just before 8 a.m. Sunday (June 10).
Residents in the 1900-block of Burnside Rd. W. called Saanich police when they saw the bear attempting to climb their fence. The bear, believed to be moving in the general direction of the Highland Pacific Golf Course, was no longer on site by the time police arrived.
Though it’s been a slow year for bear calls in Saanich, conservation officer Peter Pauwels said sightings in rural-urban interface areas, such as Burnside Road West, are common.
“Every year we do get a bear or two that will wander over from the Highlands and get into West Saanich and we’ll get a few calls,” he said. “Normally they’ll turn around and head out because it’s too busy for them.”
The sighting was one of eight so far this season in Saanich, with the majority of calls having originated closer to Prospect Lake. As no further sightings have been reported, Pauwels believes the bear has left the area.
Pauwels advises contacting the conservation officer service if a bear is acting aggressively or has travelled into an urban area. For residents of rural Saanich, he reiterates the annual bear wisdom: do not leave attractants, specifically garbage, outside of the home.
“At this time of year, bears are hungry,” he said. “They’re looking for food. … If there’s nothing for a bear to eat, he’s not going to hang around.”
The Victoria field office of the conservation officer service can be reached at 250-391-2225.