Plentiful deer attracting cougars to urban areas of Parksville Qualicum Beach

‘Please don’t feed the deer and do not feed bears in any shape or form’ — pleads a Bear Smart B.C. official

With garbage easily accessible in urban areas

With garbage easily accessible in urban areas

Where there are deer, cougars are sure to follow.

And where there is garbage, fruit and bird feeders, bears will come calling for a free, take-out lunch.

Incidents of interaction in urban areas between humans, cougars and bears are on the rise this fall, says Crystal McMillan, the executive director of Bear Smart B.C. Consulting, a company that works with municipalities on these issues.

“We’ve had a lot more calls and a lot more incidents with cougars,” said McMillan.

“At this time of year, we start seeing bears coming into communities for food sources, but what’s alarming is we are seeing an increase in cougar attractants at the community level.”

It seems deer have been especially prolific in the last year. Anyone who lives in Parksville Qualicum Beach who travels the Island Highway or even Temple Street, has seen a number of deer families roaming about every day.

“Now we have deer everywhere,” said McMillan.

Humans have contributed to the deer population explosion, which has meant many more cougars roaming the urban streets, by feeding deer, said McMillan. And while most people relate garbage to bears, available household trash also attracts raccoons and domestic pets, which cougars find appealing too.

“Because we are feeding deer at the community level, they are staying,” she said.

The problem with bears seeking garbage in urban areas is not a new one, which seems to frustrate McMillan a bit.

“It seems to take years for people to go, ah-ha, OK,” she said. “If humans provide non-natural food sources, then we have bears. Bears are very smart and they will shrink their home range (if easy-to-get food is available).”

Moves by municipalities like Parksville and Qualicum Beach to allow residents to raise chickens or bees in their backyards does not help matters, unless you are a cougar or a bear, said McMillan.

“Backyard chickens and bees are big bear attractants,” she said. “Chickens are huge cougar attractants.”

Some Vancouver Island communities have ordered a cull of the deer in urban areas. McMillan said she isn’t sure that’s the answer.

“We can go out there and kill these animals but is that really solving the problem?”

McMillan said her company works with municipalities “to reduce conflict with bears and other wildlife in communities.”

She has a simple message:

“Please don’t feed deer and do not feed bears in any shape or form.”

If you see a cougar or bear in an urban environment, call 1-877-952-7277.

Just Posted

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Society has outgrown its home at the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department and will soon move to its new operations hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport. (PQB News file photo)
The Qualicum Beach Farmers Market is one of the organizations approved for a grant-in-aid by the Town of Qualicum Beach. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Town of Qualicum Beach awards $80K in relief funds to community groups

Pandemic has put a financial strain on many organizations

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read