People in western Labrador have been spotting bears roaming around various communities through October, despite the approaching hibernation season.

Conservation Officer Chuck Porter, who is based out of Wabush, said the number of sightings for this time of year is down, but there is still a lot of work to be done to keep bears out of the community.

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Chuck Porter says the conservation office tries to handle bears as humanely as possible, and avoid killing an animal whenever possible. (CBC)

Porter said the goal is to prevent bears from interacting with humans in the area, and to release them back into the wild as quickly as possible to avoid that.

"One of our main objectives, of course, is to capture an animal and do it as humanely as possible, and then to actually get it out of town and back into its natural environment as quickly as possible. Then we have met our objective for that day," Porter said.

"We usually detect a bear in a trap very, very quickly, so generally they're only there less than an hour when we actually find them."

According to Porter, his office catches on average 20 bears per season.

He said they trap the animals near town, tag them, and then release them back into the open hundreds of kilometres away from any communities.

However, Porter said some of the bears who frequently return to populated areas can pose a threat, and occasionally they will be forced to put a bear down.

"We want to make sure there's no human interaction with these animals and we try to limit that as quickly as possible. If there is a potential case where that may happen, then we may have to put an animal down," he said.