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Here's what you need to know if you spot a yearling bear

After a yearling was spotted in Squamish, the District's wildlife officer Meg Toom explains how humans can keep them safe.

After a yearling was spotted in town, the District's wildlife officer is urging people to keep attractants away and avoid letting the young bear get too comfortable around humans.

Meg Toom told The Chief a small black bear that was recently seen near the Squamish hospital is likely a yearling who has recently been kicked out of the nest by its mother.

"[It's] really key that this animal is provided the opportunity to grow up wild and not rely on human food," said Toom.

Typically, as a mother gets ready to mate again around May to June, she part ways with her young.

Cubs are generally born in January and stay with their mothers for a year and a half before the mother decides it's time for them to strike out independently.

A new yearling is just finding its bearings, so it's prone to getting into mischief.

Toom said at this age, it's critical that the bear does not get habituated to eating food from humans. This means any and all attractants should be kept away from them.

It's also important to ensure the bear does not get too comfortable around people, she said.

While the temptation exists for people to get close and take pictures of a young bear, it's best to avoid that behaviour, as it could mean the bear will get too used to being around humans, Toom added.

(The photographer of the photos that accompany this story used a long lens and shot from a distance.)