People to blame for bear problems

Conservation officers are concerned about bears in the West Kelowna Estates area, but say residents must take responsibility.

Both residents and conservation officers are frustrated by continuing problems with bears in the West Kelowna Estates area.

CO Terry Myroniuk says residents must take responsibility for removing attractants so the bears aren’t brought into the area.

It’s an established neighbourhood where there are a lot of backyard nut and fruit trees, which is creating some of the problem, he noted.

“Bears die because people are lazy. Some of them just don’t care. They feel they have a right to their fruit trees. Some believe the bears don’t have a right to be there,” he commented.

“They need to question whether a bear’s life is worth the nuts that some of them don’t even harvest for themselves,” he added.

Garbage management is another problem, he said. Some residents store their garbage at the curb even though it’s being knocked over every night and spread around by hungry bears, he said.

Even recycling is garbage to a bear and it’s being spread around when people leave their carts out, he said.

Garbage must be stored inside until the morning of the garbage pickup day, he said.

It’s a seasonal problem caused because the bears know there is food to be picked there, so they come in to take advantage of that, in order to fatten up for winter hibernation.

“They’re only there for the food,” he said.

Although a trap has been set in the neighbourhood for the past while, none of the bears are attracted to it because there are lots of other options, he said.

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com