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.)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Arrest at Abbotsford shopping centre

Man detained Thursday afternoon

Two Chilliwack women make weekly Crime Stoppers most wanted list

Ashley Felix and Raina McDonald wanted on unrelated issues

United Way grant provides food to 100 former prisoners, families

Abbotsford-based M2/W2 Association receives $25,000 to supply groceries

Kilby Park in Harrison Mills under water

Area is often subject to flooding, Historic Site will remain open through the summer

Foundry Abbotsford celebrates two years of service

Agency provides support to youth ages 12 to 24 and their families

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Police arsenal deployed to avoid potentially violent situation: Mounties

Langley RCMP arrest armed Vancouver man after Tasering him on side street

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Ottawa jail inmates argue anti-COVID measures a breach of charter rights

The prisoners allege guards did not wear masks until April 25

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

Most Read