Conservation officers are warning residents to be cautious of leaving out garbage and attracting wildlife.

Steve Petrovic says last month alone, there were 17 black bear conflict reports across Northern Vancouver Island.

“It’s important we’re scanning well ahead of ourselves on trails and early recognition is key. If you see the bear, give it lots of space, don’t crowd it, and report it to Conservation immediately.”

Petrovic says if you do run into trouble with wildlife, don’t snap a photo or provoke the animal, but call BC Conservation right away.

He reminds people to make sure garbage isn’t left out overnight as that can attract bears and other wildlife.