WildSafeBC dispels some myths around bear attractants

The summer is heating up, but so far that hasn’t stopped the bears from coming around the community.

The summer is heating up, but so far that hasn’t stopped the bears from coming around the community.

Sightings are still high in the area, and WildSafeBC co-ordinator Sarah Osadetz is hoping that dispelling a few common myths about bears will help reduce conflict.

Myth #1: Pouring bleach on your garbage will discourage bears from eating it.

Truth: Bears can smell over the bleach, and will still be attracted to food and garbage.

“If there is another food source close by, they will take that instead. But if that’s the only food they smell, they will still eat it regardless of the bleach,” said Ozadetz.

The bleach is very harmful to the bears, and will burn their mouths and stomachs. This could in turn make them more aggressive.

Myth #2: Freezing your garbage and food waste will stop bears from smelling and/or eating it.

Truth: Although freezing the food does make it harder to eat, the bears can still smell it and will seek it out. And once the bear takes it, it starts to melt making it easier to eat.

“A bear can smell food from kilometres away, whether it’s frozen or fresh,” said Osadetz. “Freezing your garbage isn’t the worst thing you can do. But it won’t keep the bears away.”

Once again, bears will always choose the easiest food source that provides the highest caloric intake.

If a better food source is nearby, then a bear won’t take the frozen garbage. But in the absence of that source, bears will take what they can get their hands on.

“Garbage is like an addiction, and it’s really hard to get bears to stop making that choice to eat it. The only thing we can do is to associate discomfort with humans and garbage.”

Myth #3: Every time a conservation officer has a bear in a trap, it will be killed.

Truth: The conservation officer will look at each individual bear, and its history before making a decision. He will then make an assessment of what is best for both the bear, and the safety of the public.

Decisions are always made on a case by case basis, and sometimes relocation is the better option.

To report any bear sightings, call 1-877-952-7277.