Time to be bear aware and reduce conflicts

The main cause of human-wildlife conflicts in B.C. is access to non-natural food sources

A black bear checks out travelers on the road to Wells Gray Park recently. Drivers need to be very careful especially around dusk.

A black bear checks out travelers on the road to Wells Gray Park recently. Drivers need to be very careful especially around dusk.

With bears seeking out non-natural food sources, Environment Minister Terry Lake is spreading the word to British Columbians to do what they can to control bear attractants and reduce conflicts with bears.

The main cause of human-wildlife conflicts in B.C. is access to non-natural food sources. Bears that learn how to get at exposed pet food, ripe fruit, improperly stored garbage, dirty barbecues or composts become conditioned and will continue to return to the area.

British Columbians are encouraged to prevent human-bear conflicts by adopting the following practices:

• Keep garbage secured in a bear-resistant container or in the house, garage or shed until pick-up day and return the containers to the secure site once they are emptied.

• Pick ripe and fallen fruit daily and remove any unused fruit trees.

• Use bird feeders only in winter.

• Keep the ground free of seeds and nuts.

• Clean the barbecue grill after each use, and store it in a secure area.

• Bring pet food dishes inside and store the pet food inside.

• Do not add meat products or uncooked food to compost. Turn it regularly and keep it covered.

• If residents spot a bear, they are advised to remain calm, keep away from the bear and bring children and pets indoors, if possible.

• People should never approach a bear and should not run from it, as bears can move very quickly.

• Once a bear has left the area, residents should check their yards to ensure no attractants are available.

The public is encouraged to report human-wildlife conflicts that threaten public safety or result in significant property damage by calling the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line, toll-free at 1 877 952-7277 (RAPP), or visit the RAPP website at: www.rapp.bc.ca

 

More information about how to be Bear Aware can be found at: www.bearaware.bc.ca.