As the temperature cools, bears fattening up for winter have been seen around Summerland this fall.
On Sunday, a mother bear and three cubs were seen near a home on Dale Meadows Road, near Giant’s Head Elementary School.
The bears ate vegetables and flowers from the garden. Then the cubs moved to the back deck and wrestled with each other, and then climbed the biggest tree on the property.
The house is also a vacation rental, but at the time of the incident, no guests were registered there.
“It is a bit scary for me this year since there are three cubs involved,” said Sharon Stone, who observed the bears. “I have to be very careful whenever I go outside.”
Zoe Kirk, WildSafeBC coordinator with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, said bear sightings and other wildlife sightings are common in Summerland.
While Summerland and Princeton are two hotspots for bear sightings within the regional district, bears have also been observed elsewhere within the area, including one sighting in downtown Penticton in late August.
While Summerland has not had bear encounters leading to conflicts, there have been some incidents close to populated areas, including one near the downtown core three years ago.
Kirk said attractant management is a key factor in reducing the number of wildlife encounters.
“It’s a never-ending campaign of understanding,” she said, explaining that the regional district is working to educate the public about bears.
During the summer, a summer student at the regional district was at markets and other local events and also went door to door in bear hotspots, providing information.
Stone said she is taking steps to prevent bear encounters.
“We never put out any bird seed and keep our garbage inside to make sure we don’t have anything that attracts them,” she said.