Though it’s late in the year, Wildlife BC is still being notified of black bear activity in Kimberley.
Vanessa Isnardi, provincial coordinator of WildSafe BC, says that while bear activity this late in the season is usually confined to the Lower Mainland, coast and Vancouver Island, there have been reports from Kimberley.
“It has a lot to do with the mildness of the weather,” she said. “It’s been a very mild fall.”
However, the key message is that if these bears didn’t have access to non-natural food sources, they would have denned up to hibernate by now, she says.
“If they have access to unnatural foods, it encourages them to keep foraging,” Isnardi said. “Young bears, inexperienced at accessing natural foods, may be less prepared to hibernate. If they can still access food, they will keep trying to put fat on.”
It’s not too late for bears to hibernate. Isnardi says that they can still den up as late as January. But it is also becoming more of a phenomena, especially in the milder, southern parts of the province, for bears not to hibernate at all, if they have access to food year round.
READ: Managing attractants
Once again, Wildlife BC reminds you to manage your attractants.
•. Keep your garbage in or secured until the day of collection. In Kimberley this is a bylaw. Garbage is the number one attractant cited in reports to the provincial hotline.
•. Manage your fruit trees: Don’t let windfalls accumulate and pick fruit as it ripens. If you don’t want the fruit, consider: accessing a fruit gleaning group in your community, washing the blossoms off in the spring so the fruit doesn’t set, or replacing the tree with a non-fruit bearing variety.
•. Don’t put out bird feeders when bears are active: A kilo of bird seed has approximately 8,000 calories and is a great reward for a hungry bear.
•. Keep your compost working properly with lots of brown materials and a regular schedule of turning.
•. If you have livestock or backyard chickens use a properly installed and maintained electric fence to keep bears and livestock apart.