As the warmer weather this week is sure to stir area bears out of their winter hibernation, the Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to do their part by managing attractants.
Unsecured garbage, dirty barbecues, bird feeders and poorly-fenced livestock are all considered attractants for hungry bears and something Cariboo Chilcotin conservation officers are hoping to curb as part of a province-wide, focused enforcement, said conservation officer Jared Connatty, who is stationed in Williams Lake.
“It’s going to be a part of our priorities,” Connatty noted.
According to Wildsafe BC, every year hundreds of bears are destroyed as a result of conflicts between people and bears. Most of these problems begin when people allow bears to access non-natural food sources such as garbage.
Wildsafe BC recommends removing or secure attractants as follows;
Do not store garbage or other organic waste outdoors. If you have curbside collection, only put the containers out on the morning of collection day – never the night before. Make sure recyclables have been cleaned.
Pick fruit early and do not let windfall accumulate. Ensure your compost is well-managed and refer to Growing in Wildlife Country.
Avoid feeding birds when bears are most active (April to November) and ensure bird feeders are always inaccessible to non-target species such as squirrels and raccoons. Do not let seed accumulate that may attract rats and other rodents.
Feed pets indoors and keep pets inside at night.
Keep your barbecue clean by burning off uncooked food and emptying grease container.
For more information on bear attractants, check out the Wildsafe BC website.
Connatty said the COS has seen a big improvement in recent years on how Cariboo communities have managed bear attractants and hopes that will continue.