Black bear and 5 cubs spotted near Penticton, residents warned

The B.C. Conservation Service is warning people in the Penticton, B.C., area about a black bear sow, recently out of hibernation, with five cubs and it’s asking members of the public to keep away from the animals, so as to not make them habituated to humans.

The conservation service first became aware of the family of six bears on May 14 after someone reported seeing them in the Wiltse area in the city’s southeast corner, not far from homes, according to Sgt. James Zucchelli.

“There has been nothing reported as far as conflict goes with this sow and her five cubs but being that it’s such a close proximity to residential areas and close proximity to where people are recreating on trails in that area, we just want to implore the public to ensure that they have no non-natural food sources available to these bears and we want to make sure that these bears stay as wild as possible,” he said.

“A black bear sow with five cubs — you can imagine her trying to manage those cubs within a residential area. It would be very difficult for her.”

A unique circumstance

Zucchelli said it’s not uncommon to see a bear sow with three cubs and he has spotted one with four cubs before, but he says five cubs with one sow is very rare.

“It has come from confirmed sources that there are five young-of-the-year cubs with this bear,” he said. “It’s just a unique circumstance here.” 

The bears have been reported by several people and some of them have taken photos and posted them to social media.

Zucchelli warns that although there’s a tendency for people to be curious about the sow and her cubs, he is asking them not to seek the animals out and to give them a wide berth if they do come in contact with the bears.

The conservation service is also asking people living in the Wiltse area to make sure they are not leaving any attractants out and, if the bears to come into the neighbourhood, to make a lot of noise with pots and pans in order to drive them away from homes.

“Just hunkering in your house and taking video and putting it on Facebook — it’s probably not the best situation to be just letting these bears be just walking through,” said Zucchelli.

Any conflicts with the bear should be reported to the conservation service by calling 1-877-952-7277.

Homeowners can find information on how to keep their properties “bear safe” at the WildSafe BC website.

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