Time to manage attractants

As the fall approaches bears begin to consume more calories

  • Aug. 14, 2014 8:00 p.m.
Wildlife can also be attracted by your recycling bags.

Wildlife can also be attracted by your recycling bags.

Sonja Seher

Kimberley/Cranbrook WildSafeBC Community Coordinator

Garbage is the number one attractant for bears in Kimberley. Of the reports to the Conservation Officer Service by Kimberley residents last year, 57 per cent of human-bear conflicts were associated with garbage.

From late August through early October, black bears can eat up to 20,000 calories a day.  Cooking and food processing has allowed humans to prepare foods that are high in calories: even the scraps remaining can be of high food value to a bear!

An un-habituated bear will move through town between the periods of dusk and dawn and typically not interact with humans or human dwellings.  Once they have received a food reward by accessing unsecured garbage, bears may learn to associate this reward with waste containers or less secure storage spaces.

In taking a few steps towards secure and clean garbage storage, we can help to ensure bears do not become conditioned to human food sources.  The following are a few simple practices for managing garbage at your home:

Secure Storage of Household Garbage

– Store waste in a sturdy, sealable container.  The City of Kimberley provides specifications for containers, visit http://kimberley.ca/services for more details.

– Store waste containers in a securely closed space: a garage, shed, sealed porch, mud room or basement.  If this is not available to you, contact your WildSafeBC Community Coordinator for advice.

– Keep doors to your waste storage space closed at all times, including daytimes and when you are at home.

– If garbage exceeds an amount tolerable by the household or the 13 kg limit set by the City of Kimberley, take advantage of the free drop-offs offered by the local transfer station.

– Adhere to these same standards for empty cans and bottles.

On Collection Day…

– Place garbage out no earlier than 5 am.  Remember that placing waste out early is a violation of our City’s Waste Bylaw.

– Place waste out to the curb in your sealed waste container.

– Return your sealed waste container to its secured space as soon as possible.

If you see a bear trying to access your garbage or that of your neighbour, find a secure space well away from the bear and discourage it by making noise, using bear spray and otherwise making it unwelcome.  Remember: your personal safety comes first!  Be sure to report all conflicts or concerns immediately to the Conservation Officer Service at 1 (877) 952-7277.

If you are in need of advice on how to best keep garbage secure in your household, contact the Kimberley/Cranbrook WildSafeBC Coordinator by phone at (250) 464-5391 or email at kimberley@wildsafebc.com.  Thank you again for helping keep wildlife wild and communities safe!

WildSafeBC gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Columbia Basin Trust, BC Conservation Foundation, the Ministry of Environment, and the City of Kimberley.


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