As August unfolds residents in the Cariboo should expect to see more bears, said the Wildsafe BC co-ordinator for the Cariboo region.
“We had lots of deer a few weeks ago, cougars after that and can expect more bears in September,” said Amber Gregg. “We encourage people to clean their fruit trees, berry bushes, pick up apples off the ground, empty out bird feeders and clean their barbecues.”
It is also important not to put garbage out too early for pick up, she added.
“Most animals will not approach a house unless they have to,” Gregg said. “Bears have a strong sense of smell and they can even remember garbage day and they are very clever and strong.’
#Bears that feed on domestic fruit become increasingly food conditioned. This can lead to a dangerous situation both for humans and bears as these bears often turn to garbage and other attractants when the fruit begins to wane. pic.twitter.com/BxLUoSyj8w
— WildSafeBC (@wildsafebc) August 20, 2019
A friend of Gregg’s who was mountain biking in Williams Lake came across some fish bones and heads piled in the bush above South Lakeside Drive.
“We really need to be more careful. Often people I talk to are more concerned for the wildlife and are reluctant to move attractants, but wildlife needs to remain wild, not get used to unnatural food sources and garbage provides them with such easy calories.”
Electric fencing can be a good deterrent, she added.
Gregg was hired as the sustainable life co-ordinator for the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society at the end of March to replace Vanessa Moberg. She also has a contract to deliver Wildsafe programming for the Cariboo Regional District and the District of 100 Mile House between May and November.
“I’ve been tagging garbage bins in the 108 Mile area,” Gregg said, noting she has attended a few events with a display, such as the Stampede Street party, the Quesnel Farmers Market and other community events.
She will also be doing some school visits.
Growing up in Forest Grove, east of 100 Mile House, Gregg said she rode horses and often saw bears.
“We were taught to give them their space and we never had any problems. Dad always taught us to be safe when we were camping too.”
Wildsafe BC was formerly known as Bear Aware because the program focuses on grizzlies, black bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves.
“Our biggest message is managing human wildlife conflicts by managing attractants,” Gregg said.
Anyone wanting more information can contact Gregg at 250-398-7929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.