An above average number of bear sightings have been reported this year, in part due to the extreme wildfire season as well as drought conditions; send bears to new areas for food.
Many complaints calls come from areas of southeast Kelowna to West Kelowna, Lake Country and Peachland.
Waste Reduction Facilitator Rae Stewart says now is the time to be extremely careful and manage our behavior accordingly. “This is the time of year when bears intensify their search for food to build up fat reserves for winter calving. The best advice if you live in a wildlife sensitive area is to reduce the potential for conflict by taking responsibility for your waste.
Stewart reminds residents to put garbage away safely and to only take out your garbage on pickup day, not the day before. “Bears in particular, but also other animals, have a keen sense of smell. The idea is not to attract them unnecessarily in your trash cans. If they have access to your waste, not only can it make a real mess, but it can become conditioned by the food. Then they pose a risk to you and your family and pets, your neighbors and themselves. And it’s totally preventable.
The Regional Waste Reduction Office, in collaboration with waste management contractor E360s, is now in its final phase of a bear cart pilot project testing various models of bear resistant garbage cart in some neighborhoods of the region.
As part of the pilot, WildSafeBC worked to monitor the carts the day before, as well as bear and general wildlife activity, as well as provide education to area residents.
“It is important that residents understand that they have a critical role to play in preventing conflict with bears and other wildlife through attractant management. said WildSafeBC coordinator Meg Bjordal.
WildsafeBC provides some tips for keeping wildlife and your community safe:
Secure your trash – store it in a safe place indoors or in a bear-proof enclosure. Also secure the garden waste cart if it contains fruit.
Do not take out the garbage for collection until the morning of the collection, not the day before
Encourage neighbors to do the same, offer to help if needed
Remember to freeze your kitchen waste until the morning of the day of collection
Manage your fruit trees, immediately pick ripe and fallen fruit
Maintain your compost so that it does not smell. Add the fruit slowly. No meat / dairy products.
Use birdbaths and houses to attract birds, instead of bird feeders
Report any human-bear conflict to the BC Conservation Office at 1-877-952-7277.
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