Impacted garbage, recycling service in B.C. prompts call for vigilance at start of bear season

BC Conservation highlights dramatic conflict decline in Bear Smart Communities

As home maintenance projects spike during this period of COVID-19 self isolation, the province hopes homeowners will also conduct a careful survey of their property and remove all bear attractants as the hungry animals come out of hibernation in search of food.

With waste and recycling services impacted in some communities due to the pandemic, BC Conservation says vigilance is more important than ever to keep bears at bay.

“Residents could turn this unusual time into something positive for wildlife by taking extra time to secure attractants and educate themselves about Bear Smart practices,” Mike Badry, provincial wildlife conflict manager with BC Conservation Officer Service stated in a release April 17.

“If bears do not have access to non-natural food sources, such as garbage, fruit and bird seed within communities, they have no reason to hang around. This results in increased safety for both people and bears.”

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Bears typically hibernate from late fall to early spring, and often emerge from their dens looking for food to replace the fat sources they lost over the winter months.

Their keen sense of smell draws them to garbage cans, bird feeders, vehicles — anything that can ring their dinner bell. BC Conservation advises the public to keep garbage in a secure, bear-proof containers and inside a garage or shed. It’s also advised not put garbage containers on the curb until the morning of collection.

Taking down bird feeders, ensuring grease and fat left on barbecues is cleaned after use, managing compost and keeping pet food inside can also safeguard against curious bears.

Last year, the Conservation Officer Service received more than 20,000 calls related to conflicts with the animals in B.C. Many of the calls pertained to unsecured attractants.

BC Conservation is now promoting it’s voluntary Bear Smart Community Program, highlighting its success in eight communities throughout the province — Kamloops, Squamish, Lions Bay, Whistler, Port Alberni, Naramata, New Denver and Coquitlam — where sightings and conflicts with bears have dramatically declined.

READ MORE: B.C. cub that woke early from hibernation taken to sanctuary

In Naramata, a small village of 2,400 east of Okanagan Lake surrounded by fruit farms and livestock acreages, up to eight bears were destroyed every year prior to the community’s buy-in of the program in 2012. Since then, bear complaints went down from about 100 per year to 12.

The program, designed by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in partnership with the B.C. Conservation Foundation and the Union of B.C. Municipalities, is based on six criteria that communities must achieve in order to be recognized as “bear smart.”

In Naramata it included date changes and time restrictions on curb-side garbage collection, bear-proof containers in problem areas and a public education campaign in the schools.

“People have learned to modify their behaviour and have experienced the difference,” Zoe Kirt, a public project works coordinator for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen stated in the release. “In under three years, the community has become almost completely self policing. It takes political will, it takes community will, but when those two come together, you can really make big strides forward.”



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

bearsConservation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

With waste and recycling services impacted in some communities due to the pandemic, BC Conservation says vigilance it’s more important than ever to keep bears at bay. Black Press File Photo

Just Posted

Mary’s British Home store closes in Langley City

Owner says store has been struggling since it relocated from Richmond

VIDEO: Surrey care workers hold demonstration of solidarity with Langley Lodge

‘We thought we would come out and show them some support and cheer them on’

UPDATE: One person dead, two in critical condition after Highway 1 collision in Langley

A man and woman were taken to hospital in critical condition

20 dead in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

There were two new cases detected, according to the Lodge’s update

Local investors win lawsuit against Murrayville House builder

Two companies have been ordered to pay $275,000 in damages

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Most Read