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Bears can smell a peanut butter sandwich over 1 km away

Hungry bear clawed through garage door to get at garbage being kept inside at Apex Mountain
A very determined bear showed that even storing your garbage in the garage might not be enough. (Motor Rose)

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is reminding residents, property owners, and visitors to be bear-aware this time of year when the bruins are fattening up for hibernation or denning.

In fact, bears need upwards of 24,000 calories per day between August and late November to bulk up for denning, said the RDOS. Bears can smell five times better than a bloodhound. They can smell a peanut butter sandwich more than one kilometre away.

An Apex Mountain resident knows now how hungry bears are this time of year.

A bear clawed its way through a garage door to get at the garbage inside at Apex Mountain Resort last recently.

Motor Rose thought they were doing the right thing by keeping the garbage inside the garage but found out that even that might not be a deterrent to a hungry bear.

The bottom corner of the garage door was ripped open and some garbage from inside was pulled out.

Rose said there have not been a lot of bear sightings at Apex this year, but they are definitely out there.

“It’s now more important than ever to do your part to help keep wildlife wild,” said BC Conservation.

If there is a potential wildlife conflict in your community, please contact the BC Conservation Officer Reporting (RAPP) Line at 1-877-952-7277. This will allow Conservation Officers to assess the risk levels and work towards a safe solution for the community and the wildlife involved.

As long as a bear is moving through a community, and is not lingering, there is no conflict. There are many situations where a bear moving through a community is to be expected, such as when they are trying to access a natural food source like a fish-bearing stream, or foraging opportunities on the other side of what was once their normal home range.

When bears quit moving through a community and start using it as a foraging area for human-provided foods, conflicts may develop.

Store garbage in a secure building until collection day or consider purchasing a bear-resistant household cart, and ensure bins are tightly closed.

• If you cannot store garbage securely, freeze pungent items and put them in the garbage right before collection.

• Take care when walking or hiking with children and pets on wilderness trails. Dogs are great alert systems, but if not on a leash can create a hazard. Bears will chase dogs, who will usually run back to their owners. Carrying bear spray and knowing how to use it can go a long way to staying safe in bear country.

• Clean BBQs and burn off any residue from cooking.

• Pick all ripe fruit from trees and ensure overripe fruit is regularly cleaned up.

• Remove bird feeders and only feed birds between December 15 and March 1.

Areas that have been subject to wildfire and heavy smoke can affect bears and wildlife, causing them to be more unpredictable. This is especially true if they have had to flee their regular home range. Bears are looking for water, food and safe shelter in unfamiliar surroundings and can become unpredictable.

READ MORE: Bear captured after walking downtown Langley

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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