The City of Castlegar and WildSafeBC are reminding residents to manage bear attractants to keep our community safe and avoid the preventable destruction of bears.
Castlegar is experiencing a dramatic increase in bear conflict this fall due to a combination of extreme summer weather conditions and bears trying to access as much food as possible before they den for the winter.
“Bears grow more comfortable near people and linger in neighbourhoods when we allow them to find food in our community and move to other easy food sources such as unsecured garbage, birdseed, backyard composters, and BBQs,” says Lindsey Dewart, WildSafeBC’s Castlegar Coordinator.
“This creates a dangerous situation for both people and bears, and these bears can be destroyed by the Conservation Officer Service when their behaviour has deemed a risk to the public.
The best way to keep people and bears out of conflict is to remove all sources of food and continue reporting sightings or conflicts to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277 so they are aware of problem areas and can help.
How can people help?
• Lock and store carts in a secure building between collections.
• Carts left outside must have both clips locked and be chained to a strong, free-standing post or tree between collections. It is much more difficult for bears to open or damage a cart that is secured upright.
• Only place carts on the curb with clips unlocked between 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. on collection day. Fines of up to $200 may be issued for carts placed on the curb outside of collection windows.
• Garbage is the number one attractant for bears. If your garbage cart or clips are damaged, call the City of Castlegar to get it repaired or replaced.
• Freeze especially smelly food items and add them to your cart on collection day (ie: meat, bones, rotten fruit, etc).
• Take additional garbage to the landfill rather than overflowing your personal cart.
• Clean your cart regularly and consider adding ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup of borax to absorb odors.
• Secure and manage your backyard compost carefully by adding small amounts at a time and disposing of cooked food, meat, or dairy products in your garbage.
Prevent Other Attractants
• Pick fruit quickly after ripening and remove unwanted fruit trees.
• Keep barbecues clean and pet food containers indoors.
• Remove bird feeders from May until November or at least bring inside at night.
• Protect livestock, fruit trees, bees, and chickens using an electric fence.
Bear Smart Community Dumpster Pilot Project
The Bear Smart Community Dumpster Pilot Project was intended to minimize human-bear conflict and give residents an option for household garbage disposal between bi-weekly collection. The City recently made the difficult decision to end this pilot project two months early due to misuse.