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Hungry bears shouldn’t have to end up dead due to human carelessness

Clean up your attractants – bears are on the prowl as they ready for hibernation
A scruffy looking young bear checks out a property in Louis Creek in the hopes of finding an easy meal. (Jill Hayward photo)

“It’s time to give people a gentle reminder to do the right thing and clean up their attractants,” says B.C. Conservation Officer Warren Shayer, who is based out of Clearwater.

Shayer advises the number of bear and cougar sightings called in by North Thompson Valley residents has recently increased, especially with bears who are well into their fattening up process in preparation for going into hibernation.

As the bears begin to gain weight for their winter sleep they become endlessly hungry as their body needs to consume enough calories to gain two to five pounds a day. As a result the bruins are now spending all of their time searching for food sources, and they will follow any and all scents that might provide something edible and an easy meal.

“As the bears fatten up for hibernation people must tighten up on attractants on their property that will be enticing the bears in,” said Shayer, “The wild berries are done now, so bears are looking for other things instead to fatten up on, such as compost, apples and fruit on trees, barbecues, garbage cans, fire pits.”

For people who have fruit trees that aren’t quite ready to have the fruit harvested, Shayer advises, “Invest in a small electric fence to keep the bears away, and this will give the fruit a chance to ripen and be picked. They are not expensive, and well worth the investment to save your fruit – and the bear.”

He notes that once a bear has found a food source it will continue to return to the area of that source. If attractants are around this could easily be your property and your community.

A survey conducted a few years ago by the Thompson Nicola Regional District revealed that garbage bins, barbecues, and yard waste are the top three bear attractants in many neighbourhoods. Compost, bird seed, and outdoor fridges and freezers make up the rest of the items noted in the surveys. Many a homeowner has returned home to find their padlocked freezer or fridge ripped open and the contents consumed by a hungry bear.

“We are now doing audits of properties in the area,” advised Shayer, “People can get complacent about cleaning up attractants, but if so they can be fined.”

Bears can’t stop their internal hunger, therefore there is a responsibility for area residents and business to keep their properties free of anything that might entice a bear in. Bears learn very quickly and they have an incredible memory regarding where they have found food. That’s why a ‘fed bear’ most often becomes a dead bear.

Please be responsible, clean up your bear attractants and help conserve our wildlife.

Help your neighbourhood be Bear Aware by following these simple steps:

• Store garbage inside or in a bear-proof container until disposal. Do not put garbage outside the night before pick-up.

• Do not place bird feeders outside until Dec. 1, (bears are most active from April to November)

• Keep barbecues clean and free of residual food and grease.

• Feed pets inside, and store pet food and animal feed indoors.

• Mix compost regularly or treat with lime to reduce odour.

• Keep your barbecue clean by burning off uncooked food and emptying the grease container

• Pick any remaining fruit and share with friends if you have too much to handle.

Report sightings or conflicts with bears to the Conservation Officer Service’s RAPP hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

For more information on how to be more bear aware and on what to do if you have an encounter with a bear visit:


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