Community members are being asked to secure their trash to help prevent black bears from wandering into town.
As the middle of October has passed by, bears have been entering hyperphagia which means they will be gorging food as they need to consume thousands of calories per day before going into hibernation. Getting those calories is very important and they’ll do so by often going into valleys and Towns into unsecured garbage. The Conservation Officer Service (COS) says they’ve been seeing it happen a lot in the last few weeks.
For this reason, Conservation Officer Alex Desjardins says it’s important to secure public and domestic waste, “for bears it’s easy calories and easy access. A habituated bear is a dangerous bear.”
Just last week, the COS received a report of a bear breaking into a screened porch accessing domestic waste.
“That’s never good behaviour,” Desjardins said.
Enforcement is currently being taken in Golden with their new bylaw. Under the wildlife act it is an offense to leave attractants accessible to wildlife with a $230 fine for the first offense, and a court appearance for each additional offense.
Public and domestic waste is a big attractant. As bears come into town and become habituated, the COS has to destroy the bear and Desjardins says the onus has to be on the offending person that habituated the animal.
The COS is currently dealing with one particular bear in town that hangs around the King Crescent area. Desjardins says the bear has become extremely habituated and has shown behaviour that is of concern. The issue they’re facing is because he has so much garbage available to him, he won’t enter the trap they’ve set up and until all the garbage in town is secure, the trap will be ineffective.
Black bears usually start hibernating around the middle or late November, and the more food they have, the more they’ll eat to fatten themselves up to give them a better chance to survive the winter. Desjardins said as long as they have food they won’t hibernate and they’ll stick around town which goes against their natural behaviour and so it’s very important to make sure your waste is secure.
Community members are encouraged to report human and wildlife conflicts to the RHAPP line at 1-877-952-7277. Conflicts include bears showing aggressive behaviour, bears wandering in the middle of the day and bears in the garbage. The RHAPP line can also be called to report any unsecured garbage. Each call to the RHAPP line is actioned resulting in anything from a call back to attending the residence and getting to the bottom of the issue.