How many bears live on Sumas Mountain?

And can a bear cross the Fraser? We answer some bruin questions after Saturday’s tree rescue.

After Saturday’s bear incident, we were curious about where the bruins come from, how many of them there are on Sumas Mountain, and whether the Fraser River poses any sort of obstacle. Here’s what we learned, thanks to the insight of local conservation officer Don Stahl.

Where are the bears coming from?

Most Abbotsford-area bear sightings occur in east Abbotsford, between Sumas Way and the forests of Sumas Mountain, Stahl said.Conservation officers get upwards of 150 calls a year, although one recent year saw that figure tick up closer than 300.

Dozens of bears – probably somewhere between 30 and 40 – live on Sumas Mountain itself. But there’s also at least one neighbourhood bear that lives in west Abbotsford in the north Bradner area, Stahl said. Conservation officers regularly get calls about sightings of that bruin, who hasn’t posed enough nuisance in recent years to warrant relocation.

Can the bears cross the Fraser River?

Yes, bears swim well, and can cross the Fraser without too much trouble. A year or two ago, a mother bear with three cubs was spotted on Matsqui Prairie. A day or two later, Stahl said conservation officers heard about sightings of a mother bear with three cubs on the opposite side of the river. Stahl said it’s likely both sightings were of the same bears.

Are there many border-hopping bears?

Again, yes. Or at least there are some bears who live in the U.S. mountains just south of Sumas Prairie, but head north to chomp on Canadian corn when it ripens.

Should people call the Conservation Officer Service when they spot a bear?

It depends. Stahl said that if you’re in a rural area up on Sumas Mountain, it’s probably not necessary. But if you spot one in a residential area, call the COS’s RAPP hotline (877-952-7277). You’re probably not signing the bear’s death warrant by doing so. In low-risk situations; Wildsafe BC employees may be deployed to the area to inform residents and educate people on how to discourage bears from hanging out in the area.

So what should people do?

Obviously, secure your garbage. But there’s a culprit that many may not think of. Bird feeders are called “bear feeders” by conseravation officers, Stahl said. Take those down until November and December. The birds have plenty to eat, and it’s less likely that a 300-pound omnivore will take off with your seed.

Also, pick fruit before it falls on the ground. If you have fruit trees, don’t make it so easy on the bears. (Have you heard the rumour about bears getting drunk on apples? Well, this site suggests that may not be possible.)

Just Posted

VIDEO: Two-year-old Mission girl dies after she was found unresponsive in pool

RCMP located toddler after she went missing from a daycare

VIDEO: Broken watermain cause of Lougheed flood

Mission crews have repaired the main by Mission Memorial Hospital

Chilliwack prolific offender a no-show for sentencing hearing

Warrant issued on May 17 for Jeffrey Michael Kizmann wanted for robbery

Evacuation alert rescinded for Glen Valley

City of Abbotsford says flood risk has dropped

Third man arrested and charged for bus-terminal assault of man with autism

Jaspaul Uppal turned himself in to Abbotsford Police over the weekend

Vancouver Island girl scores with winning song for BC Summer Games

‘Colours’ is a perfect theme for 2018 BC Summer Games

Drivers could pay $8 per day to help cut gridlock under new plan

Mobility pricing report outlines two existing models to cut Metro Vancouver congestion by 20-25%

B.C. pipeline goes ahead despite scrapped Pacific Northwest LNG

NEB approves amendment for $1.4-billion natural gas North Montney Mainline Project

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

B.C. mom who died just before daughter’s wedding wanted family to be happy: twin

Ann Wittenberg was pulled into the ocean while on a surf board in Tofino last weekend

Courtenay-Alberni MP calls for lifeguards at popular surf spot near Tofino

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is defending its decision to cancel the surf guard program.

Harvey Weinstein to surrender in sex misconduct probe: officials

Would be first criminal charge against Weinstein since scores of women came forward

Fuel truck crash closes B.C. highway, sends two to hospital

The Trans-Canada Highway on Vancouver Island is expected to be closed until Thursday evening

Most Read