Prince George bear sightings double
Expert says it could be a 'really bad year' in the city for human and bear contact
Black bears are becoming a concern in Prince George, B.C., where there already have been twice as many sightings as last year.
The problem could get worse in the next few months, according Rachel Caira of the Northern Bear Awareness Society.
"With September and October historically being the two worst months for bear problems in the region, [and] with already having over 700 complaints and it's only the end of August — it's shaping up to be a really, really bad year for bears," Caira said.
Caira said the Prince George area is seeing more bears because it's too dry in the woods for berries to grow and ripen, so the animals are looking for food.
Fruit trees an attraction
"They're just desperate to put on the pounds," she said.
She suggested residents avoid leaving ripe fruit on trees in their backyards.
Conservation officers have killed 30 black bears in the Prince George area so far this year, compared with 29 in all of 2009.
Black bears are the smallest and most common type of bear in North America and have habitats everywhere from Newfoundland to Alaska.
They can be a metre tall at the shoulder, weigh 100 kilograms or more and run as fast as a horse, according to the B.C. Environment Ministry.
They usually avoid humans but will hunt people if extremely hungry; females will attack if they feel their cubs are in danger.
With files from the CBC's Sarah Towle