Don’t Bait Bears Into Our Town

An update about Bear Aware activities.

  • Tue Sep 20th, 2011 3:00pm
  • Life

Sadie Parr

Golden Bear Aware Community

Coordinator School is back for the kids, but bears are following their own routine as they move to lower elevations searching for food.  In fact, the number of reported bear sightings around town has increased over the past couple of weeks.  Bears are now striving to fatten up on high calorie foods for the long winter hibernation ahead.  The Golden Bear Aware Program has spent the past spring and summer educating about responsible bear attractant management.  We at Bear Aware are hoping that the community will remember to manage their bear attractants now as bears may be moving down to the fringes of – or into our communities.

The six most common urban bear attractants include garbage, fruit trees, pet food, birdseed, compost, and barbeques.  Attractants bring bears into close contact with people.  A bear that is rewarded by a meal of garbage or fruit etc., may become human food-conditioned.  A bear that learns to live near people can become habituated (used to) humans and human activity.  A food-conditioned and habituated bear is a bear willing to return again and again to forage for food provided by and associated with people. The habituation and human food-conditioning of bears presents a potential safety issue to both people and bears.

Not all homes in Golden have secure storage space or a garage in which to keep the new garbage and recycling bins.  Only certified bear-resistant garbage containers (that are kept clean and free from odour) will keep a bear out of your garbage (www.bearaware.bc.ca lists these cans).   One less effective method that may keep most wildlife and perhaps some less determined bears out of your garbage can is shown on http://www.youtube.com/user/greenmanwithdog.   The video shows someone using a ratchet strap to reinforce certain types of garbage cans.  Bears have, however, been known to gnaw through the ratchet strap.  Remember that it is still important to not put garbage out on the curbside until the morning of pick-up between 6 am and 8am, as stated by the Town of Golden Waste Management Bylaw. Especially stinky things should be frozen until the morning of pick-up.  Bears have a great sense of smell and can find those smelly items easily. It is important to pick fruit before bears become comfortable using your fruit trees as a food source.  Picking fruit ahead of the bears will reduce human-bear conflict. You may wish to explore using electric fencing to protect fruit trees and fruit from bears.  If you have too much fruit to handle yourself there are several options that the community is providing. Drop off excess fruit and produce at the Golden Food Bank on 9th St South, hours of operation: Monday 1 – 3 p.m., Tuesday 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Wed. 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Contact Sadie at the Golden Bear Aware Program ( Golden@bearaware.bc.ca ) or Diana at the Golden Food Bank (Diana.taufer@gmail.com) to arrange for volunteers to come and pick your fruit.

Windfall fruit collected and bagged can be picked up from your doorstep by Grizzly Bear Refuge staff by phoning 250-439-5474.

Fall canning and preserving workshops will  be  organized  and  put  on  by  Jenny Waters.

For more information on dates, and times contact  Jenwat11@hotmail.com