If you have spotted a bear wandering around Golden in the past couple weeks, you aren’t the only one.
There have been approximately 90 calls into the tip line so far this spring reporting bear sightings in Golden.
“There are multiple factors contributing to this high number and a spike in bear activity this spring” said Sarah Osadetz, WildSafeBC co-ordinator for Golden. The cold spring weather, lack of low elevation food supply, and the good berry year last year (which creates larger bear families) are all factors in the increase of population, and an increase in bear/human conflicts.
However there is also a human factor, which is perhaps having the largest affect. According to Osadetz, these bears have inherited garbage eating habits, and have a large supply around the community.
“The mandate for WildSafeBC is prevention of conflict with wildlife, encouraging people to choose differently with how to manage their waste – resulting in wildlife to stay wild and humans to be safe. My job is to educate on best practises for storing attractants,” said Osadetz. “We can do a better job with our garbage.”
When several bears and bear family units were bringing in a lot of calls to the tip line, June 20-22, there were on average 50 garbage bins a night being knocked over by the bears – and this is on days when there is no garbage pickup.
“One bear was so comfortable in our community, that he was wandering down 12th street at 1 p.m. walking right by humans in their yards, unafraid, when kids were out riding bikes.”
Ideally, all waste kept in an airtight, scentless container, and locked up indoors, will keep bears at bay. Some people think that freezing garbage reduces the risk of attracting bears, but Osadetz says that even frozen garbage, if stored outside in a deep freeze, is still a powerful attractant.
There are many myths that she hopes to dispel over the course of the summer through various education initiatives, and through future articles in the Golden Star. Anyone wanting tips on how to safely store garbage or use bear spray safely, is asked to contact Osadetz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who has spotted a bear is asked to call the conservation office reporting line at 1-877-952-7277. The earlier a bear in the community can be prevented from eating garbage, the better the likelihood is that it will stay wild and not be in conflict with humans.