By Katelyn Leitch
TNRD Bear Aware Community Coordinator
Bears often come out at night in the search for food and unfortunately will search for food in our communities. Bears have a keen sense of smell even stronger than a canine’s. This keen sense of smell allows them to search out their natural food and our unmanaged attractants from kilometers away!
In communities where there is curbside pickup, garbage should only put out on the morning of collection. When garbage is put out the night before this can become an easy meal for a bear causing them to become food-conditioned – a bear that relies on finding food near humans. This can then in the future, result to the bear having to be destroyed.
One of the activities that a volunteer and a Bear Aware Coordinator can do is Garbage Tagging. This involves going out the night before garbage collection and stickering any garbage bins that have been put out.
This then alerts the residence that they have created a bear attractant by putting out their bin early.
Since Barriere residents transport their garbage to a transfer station, then our option to get the Bear Aware message out is to provide door-to-door information. The TNRD Bear Aware program is in need of volunteers in Barriere to carry out this activity. When a bear is frequenting a certain street, Bear Aware volunteers can canvas the area and educate residents on how to manage their attractants. It can be rewarding to see change in your community.
It is the responsibility of area residents to ensure that communities stay free of bear attractants so the bears can stay alive and we can stay safe.
Follow these key points to be Bear Aware:
• Store garbage, compost and recycling in a bear proof container until proper disposal.
• Use bird feeders only during winter months.
• Remove fruit and berries from trees and shrubs.
• Feed pets inside and store food indoors.
• Keep barbecues clean and free of leftover food.
For more information contact Katelyn Leitch the TNRD Bear Aware Community Coordinator at 250-828-2551 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bear sightings, property damage, or human safety issues due to bears can be reported to the Conservation Officer Service on the RAPP line: 1-877-952-7277.
BCCF’s Bear Aware program is sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and the TNRD.