No bear banquets

With hibernation time ahead, this is no time to let garbage attract hungry bears in Castlegar

  • Sep. 25, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Great photo

Bears don’t need calendars to remind them that this is the time of year to get busy looking for food ahead of hibernation.

WildSafeBC Coordinator Jenny Wallace is worried about the amount of poorly stored garbage around town. A wide range of complaints have been reported over the last two weeks, from bears getting into unlocked dumpsters to illegal dumping, and the more common issue of residential garbage being stored improperly.

“I’ve been a bit shocked this season, to be honest,” said Wallace. “In my time as the coordinator in Castlegar, I have never seen so much garbage left out totally accessible to wildlife. This past week, I had a call about garbage being dumped beside a community mailbox and I also found garbage bins that had been put on the curb for collection five days early.” Wallace suggests that if residents are going to be out of town on garbage day, they could ask a neighbour to put their garbage out for them, or simply wait until the next week rather than put their bins out so early.

Luckily, bear activity has been relatively quiet again this season, with approximately the same number of reports as this time last year (2012 was the quietest season for bear conflicts in a decade). This relative lack of bears may actually be part of the reason there is so much garbage being left unsecured, according to Wallace.

“With so little activity so far, people may not see the need for managing attractants. However, proactive attractant management is the only long term solution to human-bear conflict in Castlegar. Don’t wait until a bear gets into your garbage to consider more secure storage.” Once a bear finds food in town, it is only a matter of time before it becomes a problem. Food conditioned bears lose their natural fear of human sights and sounds and may become dangerously brazen in their search for food. These bears are often destroyed as a result of this conflict cycle.

Wallace encourages residents to do an “attractant sweep” of their properties, taking a quick look to see if there are any potential wildlife attractants that could be more securely stored.

“Now is the time to be especially vigilant with things like garbage and birdseed to ensure your property isn’t contributing to human-wildlife conflict,” said Wallace. Reports of bears getting into garbage and other attractants have been picking up in the last couple of weeks and will escalate quickly if these attractants are left accessible.

For more information on local wildlife activity, contact  Jenny Wallace at 1-250-365-8971 or castlegar@wildsafebc.com. You can also find updates on local wildlife activity on Facebook: WildSafeBC Castlegar.

To report a wildlife conflict, call the Conservation Officer hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

Just Posted

Cyclist struck in Castlegar

Morning mishap at gas station on Columbia

Kaslo bus fueled by vegetable oil to begin service next month

Mountain Man Mike’s will run routes to Vancouver and eventually Edmonton

Police investigating felling of old cedars at Cottonwood Lake

One of the cedars was 300 to 450 years old

Vancouver media/tech trip inspires Castlegar students

Students enthusiastically toured several company and educational sites

PLACE NAMES: Obscure Arrow Lakes names

Historic maps reveal some little-known places

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Most Read