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

Mission woman’s donation effort transforms into PPE distribution company

Company working with Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce to source PPE to local businesses

Mission could lose $2 million in revenue

COVID-19 having a big financial impact on residents and the district

HISTORY: How did Mission cope with the Spanish flu

In 1918, a different world-wide pandemic was being dealt with

New executive director for Fraser Valley Child Development Centre

Karen Dickenson Smith succeeds Karen McLean, who has retired after 22 years

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak declared over

Dr. Bonnie Henry hails work done to halt outbreak, which saw more than 130 people contract COVID-19

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Most Read