Despite local sightings, bears are being seen less than usual in Abbotsford

Early fruiting berries may be keeping them in the bushes and out of town

  • Jul. 15, 2016 2:00 p.m.
Abbotsford News reader Sue McMurchy spotted this bear on Eagle Mountain Drive

Abbotsford News reader Sue McMurchy spotted this bear on Eagle Mountain Drive

There have been fewer bear sightings in Abbotsford so far this spring and summer than in years past, possibly because they are satisfied with snacking on early-fruiting blackberries.

There were several reports of people seeing bears – particularly a mother and cub – in the Eagle Mountain area last week, but Don Stahl, a local conservation officer, said there have been 37 reported sightings of black bears in Abbotsford since April 1, which exceeds the 34 sightings between April 1 and July 31 in 2015.

Stahl said last year had about half the usual number of annual sightings.

He’s seen blackberry bushes bearing fruit three weeks early this year, and that may be providing enough food to satisfy the bears, who would usually wander into populated areas looking for food.

With fewer sightings to deal with, Stahl and his fellow conservation officers have more time to pursue poachers, he said.