Farmer fears bears attacked Agassiz chicken coop

If you see a bear while outside, make a wide detour and leave the area immediately

A local farmer is warning residents that a bear is roaming her neighbour— closer than ever before.

Kate Onos-Gilbert woke up Wednesday to find her chicken house raided, and the fence surrounding it destroyed.

Even worse, 15 of the family’s heritage chickens were missing. At first, Onos-Gilbert thought the poultry was stolen. But upon further investigation, it became obvious the intruder was looking for a late night meal. She has found 10 of the carcasses, and is hoping to keep her last 10 chickens safe.

She said bears have never wandered that close to their house before, and has called to inform the conservation officer. They won’t get involved until it becomes more of a nuisance to humans, she said.

Still, she wanted to warn the community that local bears may be coming closer to residential areas now.

“It might be good to warn people that there is at least one bear around here as lots of people walk on the dike off McDonald (in Agassiz),” she said. Normally, she added, bears hang around the corn fields.

BC Parks has numerous tips on staying bear safe in the country.

They advise to always keep children nearby and in sight and to keep pets leashed.

If a bear is spotted, they advise making a wide detour and leaving the area immediately.

Also, watch for bear signs: tracks, droppings, overturned rocks, rotten trees torn apart, clawed, bitten or rubbed trees, bear trails, fresh diggings or trampled vegetation.

The Bear Aware program says that on average 500 black bears and 40 grizzlies are killed every year in B.C.  and most of these deaths are preventable.

“Bears are always seeking food and our communities provide them with good foraging opportunities. Bears can smell garbage and rotting fruit from kilometres away,” the website states. “Furthermore bears learn quickly, and remember where they have found food in the past. Once a bear is “rewarded” for coming into town it will return. They become accustomed to the presence of humans (“habituated”) and “food conditioned” to eating garbage, fruit, pet food, bird seed, compost and other attractants. The more often they return, the more bold they become.”

To report a problem bear, call 1-877-952-7277.

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