A brown bear and two cubs were spotted near Killiney Beach May 10. (Michael Dick photo)

A brown bear and two cubs were spotted near Killiney Beach May 10. (Michael Dick photo)

Warm spring brings bears out earlier in Okanagan

Residents urged to keep their garbage secure until the morning of pickup

Bear sightings are in bloom alongside spring, which prompts a reminder for residents to keep their garbage secure.

With a warmer spring, Conservation Officers are reporting bears are out earlier than normal, with many sightings throughout the Okanagan.

“That means it’s time to be extra vigilant. As always, when the bears come out of hibernation they’re hungry and looking for food,” Central Okanagan Regional District waste reduction office facilitator Rae Stewart said. “The best advice if you live in an area susceptible to wildlife is to reduce your risk of conflict, and take responsibility for your trash.”

Residents can do so by storing waste and recycling carts inside a shed or garage and only putting garbage bins out the morning of pickup, not the night before.

“Bears in particular, but other animals as well, have a keen sense of smell,” Stewart said. “The idea is to not attract them to your garbage unnecessarily. If they find your waste, they can make a real mess, but also become food-conditioned. Then they can pose a risk to you, your family, your pets, neighbours and themselves. And that’s totally preventable.”

Various models of bear-resistant garbage carts are being tested in select neighbourhoods throughout the region, as part of a pilot project. Depending on the results and how the carts perform and stand up to bear activity, there could be new cart options late this year.

But Stewart stresses the biggest takeaway from cart manufacturers and testing programs is no model or design is deemed 100 per cent bear-proof, only bear-resistant. So managing your attractants carefully is still critical.

Be Bear Aware
Members, there have been reports of bears in the area. Please remember that we share the land with these…

Posted by Okanagan Indian Band on Thursday, May 6, 2021

A pilot program expanding WildSafeBC coverage in the Central Okanagan was announced earlier this week. This is in addition to the existing Okanagan Westside WildSafeBC program.

READ MORE: WildSafeBC expands service into Kelowna, Lake Country

WildSafe BC has tips you can follow to keep wildlife wild and communities safe:

• Only put garbage out for collection on the morning of pickup, not the night before

• Encourage neighbours to do the same, offer to help if they are not able to put garbage out at appropriate times

• Secure your garbage on non-collection days; store it securely in your home or in a garage or shed

• Consider freezing your kitchen scraps until the morning of collection day

• Keep your barbeque clean and covered

• Pick ripe or fallen fruit immediately; if composting, or putting in yard waste cart, ensure they are secured from wildlife access

• Use bird baths and houses to attract birds, rather than bird feeders

Report human-wildlife conflicts and sightings of bears, cougars or coyotes in the community to the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

For more information on deterring bears from garbage, visit wildsafebc.com.


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