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

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

UPDATE: YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

Rollover on Highway 97 in West Kelowna

Traffic on Highway 97 is backed up in the southbound lanes

Dog locks out Kelowna couple on 4th floor patio

Kelowna firefighters were called in to rescue the two people

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Summerland to allow in-person attendance at July 13 council meetings

Two meetings will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room to accommodate public

Fundraiser kicks off for Lake Country families displaced by house fire

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise $5K for those who lost everything in early morning blaze

Rescued hawk returned to Lumby skies

A rehabilitated Swainson’s hawk was returned to its Rawlings Lake habitat

Most Read